Thursday, April 02, 2009

Bolivian heights

In a world cup qualifier in Bolivia's capital, La Paz, Argentina was defeated 1-6 by the locals in what is a historically huge defeat for the Argentinean national team. This is all the more painful because of the hopes that had been put on Mr. Maradona's coaching of Argentina.
Although the defeat is a huge loss and humilliation for Argentina (Mr. Maradona said after the match that each Bolivian goal was like a stab, but also acknowledged that Bolivia was far superior), one should nevertheless not forget the fact that Bolivia is an excellent home-team: La Paz is at an altitude of almost 4000 meters above sea-level, and FIFA has actually tried to forbid Bolivia to play their home-matches there because of the home-advantage it gives (not to say the health risks). Pelé has before said that the most difficult games he played in his life were there, and Bolivia has always done well in the South American championships there. This is not to say that other teams have done great, also recently: Colombia and Venezuela both managed to tie, and Chile even defeated Bolivia there recently! However, these countries used many days to acclimatize, and that is what I am getting at: Argentina went there on the day of the match, and that is hardly the preparation one should have to play under these conditions!

Bolivia has reached new heights with this victory, and should be congratulated for it, but they will still not make it to the World Cup.

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