Vol. 5 Num 295 Sat. March 26, 2005  

FIFA Fussball-Weltmeisterschaft Deutschland 2006
Preview: Bolivia v Argentina

Altitude test

Argentina coach Jose Pekerman says that keeping possession will be the key for Argentina when they face Bolivia at 3,600 metres in Saturday's World Cup qualifier in La Paz.

Bolivia coach Ovidio Messa, the latest man to occupy the hot seat, will be making his debut in a match which pits the top and bottom teams in the 10-nation South American group.

Table-propping Bolivia, who have already gone through two coaches in their campaign, have 10 points from 11 games, while Argentina have 22.

Argentina coach Jose Pekerman is taking a young, experimental side to La Paz and resting his top players, who are staying in Buenos Aires to prepare for Wednesday's game at home to Colombia.

Although most of the squad for the Bolivia game play for well-known European clubs, they have little international experience.

"I've got a lot of confidence in these players because they've shown enthusiasm and a desire to win, without fear," said Pekerman.

"This is a team of well-known players but structurally it's new."

The coach tried to play down the altitude factor but added: "The basic thing in La Paz is not to lose the ball, because this will force us to run more to get it back and will wear us down. And that will lead us to disorganisation."

His counterpart Messa said he wanted to make use of the altitude advantage.

Bolivia are missing experienced central defender Juan Manuel Pena through injury and their team is centred around veteran midfielder Erwin Sanchez.

Sanchez, who now plays for local club Oriente Petrolero, has made an excellent comeback after previously announcing his retirement with Portugal's Boavista.