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Six reasons for Argentina’s 6-1 defeat to Bolivia

April 3, 2009

Argentine media allocate dozens of pages to football daily and the country has two 24-hour cable channels almost exclusively dedicated to the sport. Quite often it’s a struggle to fill all that paper and airtime — so much so that one of the TV channels passes away the afternoon with a programme in which the presenters play foot-tennis.

But on Thursday, there was more than enough to talk about. How did Argentina, supposedly revitalised by Diego Maradona, lose 6-1 away to Bolivia, one of the region’s weakest teams, in a World Cup qualifier?

Reuters Soccer Blog has come up with six possible reasons, listed in no particular order:

(1) Altitude. Considered the main culprit by many. Most people struggle to walk uphill on their first day in arriving in La Paz, at 3,600 metres above sea level. It is quite common to wake up during the night with a suffocating feeling and the general consensus is that roughly three weeks are needed for full acclimatisation. So imagine playing 90 minutes of football as soon as your arrive.

(2) The players. Argentina’s players had a collective off day. As Maradona said: “We were outplayed in every part of the field.” Angel di Maria, scorer of the winning goal in last year’s Olympic soccer final against Nigeria, was sent off after only seven minutes.

(3) Maradona. Since taking over last October, the coach has talked endlessly about commitment, work rate and the importance of The Shirt. On Wednesday, however, he did not seem to have done his homework. He played down the altitude factor, telling his players: “Bolivia are the opponents, not the altitude.” The team flew in two hours before kick off and Maradona started with nine players who played against Venezuela five days earlier. Chile, in contrast, spent over a week in a high altitude training camp before visiting La Paz earlier in the campaign. They won 2-1.

(4) Bolivia. The hosts are an unpredictable lot, at any altitude. The World Cup campaign has seen them lose 5-0 in Uruguay but they have also held Brazil to a goalless draw away. Joaquin Botero, who scored a hat-trick on Wednesday, plays in the Mexican second division and his striking partner Marcelo Martins, who played havoc with the Argentina defence, has been warming the substitute’s bench at Shakhtar Donetsk. But both looked world beaters on Wednesday.

(5) Riquelme. The enigmatic playmaker quit the Argentina team last month after falling out with Maradona. But his ability to slow the game and keep possession was sorely missed in the rarefied air.

(6) Luck. Everything went Bolivia’s way. FIFA somehow decided that their cabbage patch of a pitch was suitable for international football, everything they tried worked to perfection and they were awarded a soft penalty when the score was at 1-1.

PHOTO: Argentina’s coach Diego Maradona looks on during their 2010 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Bolivia in La Paz April 1, 2009. REUTERS/Gaston Brito

Comments

I am very happy for Bolivia, I wish I could have been there with my friend to watch the game, this I hope will teach the argentinians that they are not invincibles.My must warm congratulations to the Bolivian TEAM

 

Los equipos chicos como Bolivia,ganan partidos así,pero solo los equipos grandes como Argentina ganan “CAMPEONATOS”El viejo dicho dice que “el que gana es el que goza”,y si como en este caso se le gana a un gigante del football como es Argentina,pues imagínate como estarän los Bolivianos.Felicitaciones a los pupilios de Evo. Thank you.

Posted by Jorge Leon | Report as abusive
 

I can imagine that it’s very hard to play under the circumstances of high altitude. But I think Maradona is the one to blame here. He knew about La Paz and he should’ve changed his tactic. Let Bolivia have the ball and wait until they were tired. The extreme altitude had immense impact on the match. But Argentina would not have lost like this if they prepared better.

 

I have arrived in la paz at 22.oo at night and played football, in san isidro, the next day and iam from great britain, well done bolivia.

Posted by chris young | Report as abusive
 

Imagine what it’s like for the La Paz-based Bolivian internationals when they play at sea level.

Posted by Red Devil | Report as abusive
 

I don’t think luck had much to do with it. In fact if anything Bolivia were unlucky – they could genuinely have scored 9 or 10 were it not for great saves from Carrizo. So everything did not go their way. Luck has little to do with Di Maria or Zanetti’s stupid mistakes in conceding a penalty and getting sent off.

 

PLZ MARADONA IF U WANT ARGENTINA BACK 2 GAME U MUST INCLUDE REQUELME AS THE PLAY MAKER….ONLY THE MIDFIELD LINE UP REQUELME, JONAS, DE MARIA AND FORWARDS HIGUEIN, MESSI AND IN DEFENCE HEINZA , BURDISSO, SAMUEL, MILITTO AND IN WINGS MAXI, AND MASCHARANO NEED 2 MAKE THIS BACK AGAIN…SO PLZ …PLZ CONSIDER NATIONAL INTEREST THAN INCLUDING AGUREO IN NATIONAL TEAM…PLZ

Posted by siraj | Report as abusive
 

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