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WC Qualification South America

  • 26 March 2013
  • • 20:00
  • • Estadio Hernando Siles, La Paz
  • Referee: E. Osses
  • • Attendance: 35000
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Bolivia - Argentina Preview: Buoyant Albiceleste return to the heights of La Paz

Bolivia - Argentina Preview: Buoyant Albiceleste return to the heights of La Paz

Bolivia-Argentina 2009

The last time Conmebol's qualifying leaders visited the Bolivian capital it ended in disaster, and they will be desperate to avoid another humiliation at altitude

  PROBABLE LINEUPS
BOLIVIA

Galarza
Jimenez, Raldes, Zenteno, Gutierrez, B'rano
Chumacero, Garcia, Veizaga
Moreno, Saucedo

ARGENTINA

Romero
 Zabaleta, Garay, Fernandez, Rojo
Mascherano, Banega, Di Maria
Messi, Higuain
, Lavezzi

A devastating 5-0 defeat away to Colombia on Friday was compounded for Bolivia by an injury to goalkeeper Carlos Arias, who came off in Barranquilla after conceding the first goal. A muscular complaint keeps the shot-stopper out, and he will be replaced by Sergio Galarza. One piece of good news for the hosts is the return of defender Ronald Raldes, who served a suspension in the last fixture.

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella is keeping the team for Tuesday closely under wraps, as the trainer considers how to play best at 3,500m above sea level in La Paz. Two changes, however, appear inevitable. Fernando Gago was ruled out due to a muscle strain, leaving the door open for Ever Banega to start after replacing the Velez man on Friday; Angel Di Maria, meanwhile, completed a one-game suspension against Venezuela and will return to the first-team in place of Walter Montillo.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Bolivia are one of four South American nations to have changed coach during the qualifying campaign. Paraguay, Chile and Colombia all sacked trainers during the first half of the competition, as did World Cup hosts Brazil.
  • La Verde have made just one appearance at a World Cup finals, in 1994. 
  • The nation's home stadium, Hernando Siles, is one of the highest football arenas in the world, at 3637m above sea level. In 2007 Fifa briefly banned games from La Paz due to the altitude, but relented after fierce protests.
  • Hernando Siles was the site of 2009's 6-1 destruction of Argentina, one of five wins overall for Bolivia on home soil against the Albiceleste - they have six in total.
  • One Argentine star who will be especially keen to take revenge is Angel Di Maria (right). The Real Madrid man saw red in 2009 as Diego Maradona's charges collapsed to defeat.
  • Lionel Messi also has unfinished business with the Verde. Tuesday's hosts are the only Conmebol side who have not conceded a goal from the Barcelona magician. 
  • Currently top of the Conmebol standings, Argentina require just three wins from their last six clashes to be certain of qualifying, regardless of any other results.

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World Cup Qualification - South America ‎(WCQS)‎ 1 Apr 2009 Bolivia 6 - Argentina 1
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
23S. GalarzaGoalkeeper
-Edward ZentenoDefender
3L. GutiérrezDefender
16R. RaldésDefender
-J. TorricoDefender
-Alejandro ChumaceroMidfielder
22R. CardozoMidfielder
-D. BejaranoMidfielder
9C. SaucedoStriker
26Marcelo MorenoStriker
-W. VeizagaStriker
-C. Lampe
-H. SuárezGoalkeeper
-A. MeleanDefender
-Ronald EguinoDefender
-M. BejaranoDefender
-L. MayguaMidfielder
-Nacho García
14G. MojicaMidfielder
8J. ChávezMidfielder
17J. ArceStriker
-J. FierroStriker
Players to Watch
Marcelo Moreno
Marcelo Moreno
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 26
Games Goals YC RC
14 4 3 0
The marksman raised in Brazil hit the net in 2011 during an encouraging draw in the Monumental for his nation, and Bolivia fans will be relying on his goals to turn around their fortunes against the leaders.
Gonzalo Higuaín
Gonzalo Higuaín
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
11 9 2 1
Two perfectly-taken strikes against Venezuela laid the foundations for Argentina's victory, and the South American top scorer is on a wonderful run of form for the Albiceleste that should continue in La Paz if given half a chance.
Prediction
La Paz is rarely a happy hunting-ground for Argentina, but a victory will be expected against a demoralised Verde. The away side may suffer at altitude, but they should have enough to record a narrow triumph.
Editor's Prediction

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