Mauricio Soria said Bolivia’s Copa America quarter-final against Peru will be the most important in his career.
Bolivia are through to the knockout stages at the continental tournament for the first time since their run to the final in 1997 – while Peru have reached the quarters for a seventh straight time.
Soria said the opportunity for Bolivia – who sit 89th in FIFA’s rankings – was not lost on him ahead of their knockout tie in Temuco on Thursday.
“The next game is always the most important for those involved in football, we need to win the next game and then try to conquer the next one but it will be difficult if we don’t achieve success in the next one,” Soria told a news conference.
“Obviously this is the most important game right now in my life, but I have been involved in many and much better games.
“We are expecting the best for our players to represent the country as everybody deserves.”
Peru coach Ricardo Gareca said he has full faith in Paolo Guerrero to produce, despite the Flamengo striker going goalless in all three group games – and the fact the 31-year-old has just two international goals to his name since June 2012.
“I think that Paolo is in good form as everybody else, he is focused in his development achieving the team’s goals and we are not worried,” Gareca said.
“I don’t see him either being worried. He is committed to reach his top form and we are sure he is going to get there step by step because his job is very important not just in attack but to his team-mates too and I think he is doing these things in the best way possible as the other guys also doing it.
“So we will play against very important teams and he is taking his precautions but the most important thing is that I see him motivated like the rest of the guys that are full of emotions and that makes me feel calm.”
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