Bolivia 6 – 1 Argentina

There’s no headline to describe it, really. Diego Maradona’s first competitive match in charge of Argentina went like a dream, but his second was the kind of nightmare in which you realise partway through that all is not as it seems, but you just can’t wake yourself up, and it brought the worst defeat in the history of the Argentine national team. The decision to bring Lucho González in to replace the suspended Jonás Gutiérrez looked to have paid off after he cancelled out Marcelo Martins’ 11th-minute opener.  Five more goals followed, though – and they were all from the hosts. Each one ‘a stab to my heart,’ in the words of Don Diego after the game. Read about it, and watch the goals, right here.

The first fifteen minutes only saw one goal, but already by that point Juan Pablo Carrizo was a very over-worked goalkeeper as the Bolivians tore into their more illustrious visitors, and they were 3-1 up by the break thanks to Martin’s opener and strikes from Joaquín Botero (who completed his hat trick with two more after the break) and Alex Da Rosa. Lionel Messi pulled a couple of moments out of the bag, and Maxi Rodríguez and Lucho both had attempts from mid-distance, but Argentina offered little of substance in reply.

After the break things went from bad to worse. Argentina looked disorientated, and when Botero hit his second just six minutes after the restart it was clear there was no way back. Angel Di María was sent off, Botero completed his hat-trick in the 66th minute, and Didí Torrico added the sixth with four minutes left on the clock.

Afterwards, Maradona refused to blame the altitude (prior to the game he’d praised Bolivian president Evo Morales for having fought for his country’s right to play their home games where they chose) and eulogised the hosts for their good level of play, but admitted that each goal had felt personal. ‘Now, we’ve got to start all over again,’ he told the press.

This was Argentina’s joint worst-ever defeat – they lost by the same scoreline to Czechoslovakia in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. A conspiracy theory believed by perhaps as many as twelve people worldwide once held that the 1958 World Cup never in fact took place, and that ‘footage’ of the tournament was staged by the CIA as some sort of bizarre mind-game during the Cold War. It’s perhaps fitting, then, that this second 6-1 defeat has come on the 1st April. It definitely happened, though. So after the impressive wins over France and Venezuela, which is Diego’s real Argentina?

World Cup South Africa 2010, South American qualifiers, 1st April 2009 – Bolivia 6 – 1 Argentina:

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12 thoughts on “Bolivia 6 – 1 Argentina

  1. Good lord, they practically walked those goals in. Did we just forget how to play defense? High altitude is no excuse for a complete lack of marking for the whole match.

    I’m not a fan of a let’s show up the morning of the match to avoid the effects of altitude either. I’d prefer to have 2 or 3 days to acclimatize a bit and train in altitude. Might also have been useful to use a different starting 11 for this match, which could’ve been training in La Paz since before the last match. That’s essentially what they did at the last WCQualifiers, had practically and entire new team for the match from their previous match.

  2. Cambiasso would have been immense in a game like this, especially playing 4-4-2, papa and heinze are simply not good enough. Good thing is back in 93 brazil were humiliated in la paz as well, only to go and take it all a year later…

  3. There isn’t necessarily any correlation between this match and the rest of the qualifiers. I still believe Argentina will qualify directly from South America. BUT, I agree, someone like Cambiasso would’ve helped. You hate to go into any match with a cynical tactics, but that would’ve been more fitting to the situation. A tie would’ve been perfectly acceptable to Argentina. Hold the middle, keep the ball as much as you can, slow the game down, try a few shots from long distance, use your energy on a couple of counterattacks per half to keep Bolivia honest, but otherwise defend, defend, defend.

  4. I really like Maradona did not blame altitude. It was nice to see the coach not just finding excuses but thinking about future. What can we say more? Simply everything perfectly worked out for Bolivia, everything, and nothing for Argentina as all team played awfully bad (apart from Gago and Tevez at some moments). Fortunately this match does not count that much after all.

  5. The amazing thing is this could have even been worse. Bolivia genuinely might have scored at least 9 given the chances they created. Simply unbelievable.

    I’m happy for Bolivia though, given the way people in Argentina sometimes tend to turn their noses up at their economically less well-off neighbours.

  6. Have found the video elsewhere, what a disaster.
    Re the altitude problem, I was wondering are the South American fixtures decided by computer, or are they, like in Europe, negotiated by the FAs?
    Because it must be a major disadvantage for Argentina to play the high-altitude away game as the second of the two in a double-header.

    It happens again in June – Colombia at home, which ought to be a win, but then Ecuador away, which could easily be another defeat on this form.

    Which could well leave Argentina possibly just two points ahead of Uruguay AND Ecuador, and at the mercy of Brazil at home and Paraguay and Uruguay away in the final fixtures.

    Qualifying from this group is by no means certain – surely only Peru can be discounted. I think that a win in Montevideo could be required to secure fourth place, and a situation like that is the very kind of thing that might make you rather wish hard-headed Carlos Bianchi was in charge instead of the emotionally-charged Diego.

  7. Also, as an Englishman, I would like to note that I do realise today is a very important day for all Argentines.

    It is important to pay tribute to ALL who tragically died in the terrible conflict, and pray that it never happens again. I don’t believe the people of the two nations would ever want or allow it.

    Let us hope that our two countries will live together in peace and mutual respect, and understand each other’s culture and ideals. And that some day, a mutually satisfactory conclusion is brought to the problem which sadly divides our leaders.

  8. Wow. Matthew, you have touched on something I didn’t even think about – the possibility of Argentina not qualifying for 2010. Just imagine how much that would tarnish Maradona’s legacy were it to happen. Possibly the only thing that could make the Argentine people lose a portion of their love for him.

  9. Dreadful result, but….as an anglo-argentine living in England, for years I have put up with listening to stereo typical shite about Argentine/South American cynicism and bad sportsmanship. Everyone knows that it is impossible to play at high altitude without weeks of acclimatisation (a luxury not available to the selection as they only had four days before the previous qualifier in Bs As), yet not a single player has uttered a word of criticism of the conditions. What a fabulous demonstration of collective magnanimity by the national team. By refusing to blame the conditions, the players have displayed a unity and collective responsibility that will serve them well in the next 18 months.

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