Monday, March 30, 2009

Argentina Vs Bolivia: High elevation will be a factor

Argentina will soon take on Bolivia in Bolivia's high altitude capital city of La Paz at nearly 12,000 feet of altitude. Most International teams never have to subject their teams to these extreme conditions which can cause hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and a multitude of related ailments. FIFA even tried to ban international games from being played in ultra-high altitude stadiums located in Bolivia, Peru, & Colombia in 2007 but eventually retracted due to public outcry from these nations.
In my last trip to Argentina, I took an excursion to the Andian region of Mendoza at an elevation of 10,000 ft. I remember feeling short of breath and extremely lethargic just by walking.

Given all we know about the effects of high altitude, I think Maradona should've given his team more time to acclimate to the high elevation before Wednesday's game which is only 2 days away. The team is actually flying to Santa Cruz de la Sierra tomorrow which is in the low-land area of Bolivia (1,365 ft). The team will not get to La Paz (12,000 ft) until the day of the game. These conditions will definitely slow the pace of the game and will be a key factor on the formation and players Maradona will choose.

Argentina's Record in La Paz, Bolivia:

Won 3 games - Lost 3 games - Tied 1 game

1957 (Qualifiers for Sweden 1958) - Lost 2-0
1965 (Qualifiers for England 1966)- Won 2-1
1969 (Qualifiers for Mexico 1970) - Lost 3-1
1973 (Qualifiers for Germany 1974 - Won 1-0
1997 (Qualifiers for France 1998) - Lost 1-2
2001 (Qualifiers for Japan/Korea 2002) - Tied 3-3
2005 (Qualifiers for Germany 2006) - Won 2-1

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