The National Team will live an unprecedented experience to play at the height of La Paz for the Qualifiers

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The Argentine team will travel two days before to the capital of Bolivia, something that never happened. How did the team and Lionel Scaloni, who played in the last blue and white victory there.

Because of the pandemic and bubbles sanitary facilities to which the delegations must submit, Argentina will carry out an atypical itinerary to face Bolivia on Tuesday, October 13, at the height of La Paz (3,680 meters). The team led by Lionel Scaloni will arrive in the capital of the bordering country on Sunday night and will remain there until the match at the Hernando Siles Stadium. There are no similar records of this scenario in the remaining 10 matches that Argentina played for the South American Qualifiers in La Paz.

Edgardo Bauza, Alejandro Sabella, Diego Maradona, José Pekerman and Marcelo Bielsa opted for the same logistics: landing the night before in the plain of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and traveling to La Paz the same day of the game. The results were mixed.

He Paton he learned on Bolivian soil that he could not count on Lionel Messi, officially sanctioned for an insult to a linesman in the Argentina-Chile duel at the Monumental. Bauza knew perfectly the ups and downs of height from his time at Liga de Quito. That experience was of little use: the team fell 2-0 on March 28, 2017.

Sabella was able to count on Messi and saved a 1-1 goal by Ever Banega on March 26, 2013. “It is tremendous to play here. Some teammates felt dizzy and headaches before the game, but not me. Only during the game. game I felt that common suffocation here. It becomes very difficult “, said the crack Rosario after the tie.

On April 1, 2009, one of the toughest defeats in the history of Argentina happened: 6-1, with Messi on the court and Maradona on the bench. “I’m not afraid of heights”Diego had declared the day before the game.

Lionel Scaloni was on the court the afternoon of Argentina’s last victory in La Paz: it was 2-1, on March 26, 2005, with goals from Luciano Galletti and Luciano Figueroa. For that occasion, Pekerman chose to put a team with young players who were usually substitutes. Days later, the headlines beat Colombia at the Monumental.

Bielsa was the first to implement the trip to Santa Cruz de la Sierra the day before. And Argentina got a miraculous draw at Hernando Siles on April 25, 2001: 3-3, with two goals from Hernán Crespo and the remaining one from Juan Pablo Sorin, on the hour. The peculiarity was that Bielsa had the players train with a lighter ball the week before the duel.

The one on April 2, 1997 is a dark story and not for the defeat by 2 to 1. The end of the match was a scandal and the confusing episode of the alleged assault on Julio Cruz in the dressing room.

Daniel Passarrella was the coach and the climate that was lived was hostile due to the previous statements of the DT, who had indicated that “playing at height is inhuman”.

The squad traveled the day before the game and spent the night in La Paz. Argentina arrived in the Bolivian capital from La Quiaca, where the team had trained for more than 20 days to acclimatize to the altitude.

Much further back in time, on September 23, 1973, the so-called “Ghost Selection” won 1-0 with a goal from Oscar Fornari. Coach Omar Sívori he sent his assistant, Miguel Ubaldo Ignomiriello, and a group of youth (Ricardo Bochini, Mario Kempes and Marcelo Trobbiani, among others), to train in Tilcara for more than a month and then travel to La Paz to face Bolivia.

They sent them and forgot them: they were days and days of practice without major contacts with the AFA. They played friendlies in Jujuy, Peru and Costa Rica. And they hit the Hernando Siles.

Argentina did not qualify for the 1970 World Cup and the start of the Qualifiers for that tournament began in La Paz, on July 27, 1969. It was fall 3-1. Coach Adolfo Pedernera He had arrived in the capital of Bolivia, next to the squad, 15 days before the game.

In addition, with two goals from Luis Artime, Argentina prevailed 2-1 in the duel of August 28, 1965. Meanwhile, on October 6, 1957, the National Team played for the first time in La Paz by Qualifiers and fell 2-0.

The antecedents against Bolivia in La Paz are many, the strategies are diverse and the results, disparate. There seems to be no magic recipe for playing the Hernando Siles. But Lionel Scaloni has something going for him: he knows what it’s like to run and sweat at an altitude of 3,680 meters.

HS

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