Nicaragua 0-1 Bolivia
2 June 2017
Estadio Nacional, Managua
Scorers: Alvarez

Bolivia 3-2 Nicaragua
7 June 2017
Estadio Provincial, Yacuiba
Scorers: Garcia, Chavarria (Nicaragua), Bejarano, Álvarez, Vargas (Bolivia)

Unofficial football world champions Bolivia defeated challengers Nicaragua twice in back-to-back friendly matches to retain the UFWC title. However, in the second match La Verde were forced to fight back from two goals down in order to avoid one of the biggest shocks in UFWC history. The win was secured with a 93rd minute winner. Bolivia will attempt to defend the title in a World Cup qualifier against Peru.

Striker Gilbert Álvarez scored in both matches. He burst through the Nicaragua defence to score the only goal of the game in the 58th minute of the first match. And he scored the equaliser just after half-time in the second.

Nicaragua took the lead after just six minutes, when Jorge Garcia rolled a low shot across the box and into the far corner of the net. And it was 2-0 after 37 minutes, when Carlos Chavarria intercepted a poor clearance and scored with another low shot.

However, within two minutes the Bolivian fightback was on, with Diego Bejarano scoring after Nicaragua failed to clear a corner. Bolivia made two substitutions at half-time, bringing on José Sagredo and José Luis Vargas. And, after Alvarez had equalised early in the second half, it was Vargas who was the hero, poking the ball home for a very late winner.

The two UFWC title matches were Bolivia’s 16th and 17th respectively. Bolivia have now won 8 title matches and are 23rd in the all-time rankings. Meanwhile, these were Nicaragua’s first and second UFWC title matches, and they remain unranked with zero wins.

The next UFWC title match is a World Cup qualifier, with unofficial football world champions Bolivia travelling to Peru on 31 August 2017. Peru have won 7 previous title matches – one fewer than Bolivia. They last played in the UFWC in 2016, but haven’t won a match since 1982.

Bolivia are second bottom of the CONMEBOL World Cup 2018 qualifying table and cannot qualify for the final tournament. They were deducted four points for fielding an ineligible player in two matches. Peru, however, can still qualify, standing five points off automatic qualification and four points off the inter-confederation play-off. With four rounds of qualifiers yet to play there is a good chance that the UFWC title will be competed for at the final tournament. Football World Cup free bets 2018 can provide the odds and offers.

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About Paul Brown

Paul is a freelance journalist and author. He created the UFWC in 2003, and subsequently wrote the Unofficial Football World Champions book. He can be found on Twitter @paulbrownUK.