DHAKA: President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday issued separate messages congratulating the exporters selected for the National…
Desk Report: Heartbroken Venezuela are determined to capture bronze in Saturday’s Copa America third place play-off against Peru despite believing they should really be featuring in Sunday’s final against Uruguay.
Venezuela’s plucky campaign was finally derailed in the semi-finals in a penalty shoot-out by Paraguay after a match where they hit the woodwork three times and had a goal disallowed.
Despite their lingering disappointment at the cruellest of exits, coach Cesar Farias and his men will be fired up to beat Peru, not least as President Hugo Chavez continues to laud them with constant eulogies via Twitter.
Chavez has threatened to take the matter to the South American Football Confederation – whose head is Nicolas Leoz – a Paraguayan.
Lady Luck may be backing the Paraguayans – who survived another penalty drama in the quarters to see off holders Brazil, but the Venezuelans want to go out with a bang, says Farias, rallying his side in the face of adversity.
“Look, we’ve been the away team (in terms of fan numbers) in most of the games and you can factor in the climate too,” with the tournament taking place in a chilly Argentinian mid-winter.
The Peru game may end a chapter but not the overall story, adds Farias, promising more to come regardless of Saturday’s outcome.
Venezuela are to date the only South American country never to appear at the finals.
Peru themselves turned the form book upside down as far as the semis were concerned before finding Uruguay a bridge too far.
They finished rock bottom of the last World Cup qualifiers – Venezuela were third bottom – but under Uruguayan coach Sergio Markarian they have earned new respect.
With Saturday a chance to weigh up his options for the next cycle, comprising the two-year, 18-match World Cup qualifying programme, Markarian says he will make “several changes”.
One will be enforced with combative midfielder Juan Vargas suspended.
Conversely, Farias can bring back Tomas Rincon, dismissed in the win over Chile, back into his midfield though Giacomo Di Giorgi acquitted himself well against the Paraguayans.
When the pair met in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers Venezuela won 3-1 at home but went down 1-0 away.