WC Qualifiers: Difficult to beat Bolivia at home, says Argentina coach

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni described Bolivia as “one of the best teams in the world” when it plays at the punishing altitude of La Paz.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni speaks with his players during a team practice in La Paz, Bolivia, on Monday. - AP

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni described Bolivia as “one of the best teams in the world” when it plays at the punishing altitude of La Paz.

Bolivia was thrashed 5-0 in Brazil on Friday but it rested some players in anticipation of facing Argentina on Tuesday in another South American World Cup qualifier and Scaloni said his team which is unbeaten since the 2018 Copa America - will need to be at its best to play at 3,640 metres above sea level.

“Playing here is completely different from playing at sea level, it’s very difficult here,” Scaloni said ahead of the game.

Bolivia at home is one of the best teams in the world, he added.

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The Bolivians have qualified for the World Cup finals only once, in 1994, and they finished second last in the 10-team South American group last time around.

However, the thin air of La Paz has felled many visitors and Argentina has not won in Bolivia since 2005.

'100 percent'

The twice world champion was beaten 2-0 in Bolivia in 2017 and was hammered 6-1 by the Andean side in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, also at altitude.

“We need our players to be 100 percent, if any of them are not then well talk to them and take the best decision for team,” said Scaloni, who brought his team a couple of days early to try and acclimatise.

Argentina beat Ecuador 1-0 last week, one of four teams to record a win in the opening round of matches.

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