Chile gets huge boost as Bolivia forfeits two World Cup qualifiers

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What a difference a month had made for Chile’s World Cup hopes.

On Oct. 6, Chile was thumped by Ecuador and sat seventh in the CONMEBOL table, two spots below even the inter-confederation playoff spot.

A win over Peru helped, and now a ruling against Bolivia has handed Chile three goals and two points. Chile had drawn Bolivia 0-0, now they’ve won 3-0 via forfeit and sit fifth.

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Why? Because Bolivia used a player who had been capped by Paraguay and not cleared to play for anyone else. It’s shocking and silly by both the player and the team to not be sure before plugging the 33-year-old into a match (though given Bolivia’s long odds, perhaps it felt it was worth the risk).

From the Associated Press:

”The sanction relates to the player Nelson Cabrera who was fielded by Bolivia in breach of the rules on eligibility to play for representative teams,” FIFA said in a statement.

FIFA received complaints from Chile and Peru about Paraguay-born defender Cabrera, who previously played for Paraguay’s national team.

So now Chile has leapt above Argentina to make an absolute logjam between 3rd and 7th in CONMEBOL, as two points separate five nations with eight matches remaining for each team.

Game on.