Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

Argentina defeated Bolivia 3-0 in the second round away game of the South American qualifiers for the 2026 North and Central America World Cup held at Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz, Bolivia on the 13th.Argentina, the Qatar World Cup winner, had Julian Alvarez as the lone player, with Nicolas González and Angel Di Maria as left and right wing forwards. Enzo Fernandez, Alexis McAllister, and Rodrigo De Paul were in midfield, while Nicolas Tagliafico, Nicolas Otamenti, Christian Romero, and Nahuel Molina were in charge of defense. The goalkeeper is Emiliano Martinez. Although Argentina captain Lionel Messi’s name was not on the player list, Argentina beat Bolivia 3-0.

For Argentina, Fernandez scored an additional goal in the 31st minute of the first half and Tagliafico scored an additional goal in the 42nd minute, and in the second half, Gonzalez scored a pass from Ezequiel Palacios to score the winning goal.

In this game, Argentina coach Scaloni excluded Messi from the roster of players. He didn’t even give him a candidate spot. However, Messi sat on the bench throughout the game. It is a violation of the rules if a player who is not on the roster is sitting on the bench.

British media reported that there is a secret here. The Argentine national team is said to have taken advantage of a loophole in FIFA regulations. Lionel Messi was registered as the team’s coach.

If you watch the game today, Messi is sitting on the bench in sportswear. That was possible because he was the coach of Argentina. Local media said he was not a coach but one of the staff members assisting the manager.

England’s The Sun reported that Messi, who was originally supposed to captain the Argentina team, was excluded from the list of players, so Angel Di Maria (35) was the captain for that day’s game.

TNT Sports explained in detail why this happened. Instead of a list of players, Messi filled out and submitted FIFA documents with the title of assistant coach. So although he was not named in the squad, he could sit on the bench. 

It is said that this measure was taken by coach Scaloni to protect Messi. The stadium in Bolivia, where the game was held, is located at 3625 meters above sea level. Additionally, Bolivian players are famous for their roughness.

Because the stadium is so high up, it is said that oxygen is much scarcer than on flat ground. It is said that it is common for athletes to inhale oxygen using an oxygen tank during rest periods.

Among the Argentine players, Alexis McAllister and Christian Romero are said to have used oxygen tubes when getting off the bus arriving at the stadium.

There is an interview Neymar gave in 2017 after experiencing this stadium. The Brazilian national team member complained after the game, saying, “It’s inhumane.”

스포츠토토Messi also had difficulties in this stadium. He played in an away game to Bolivia in 2009, but had to watch his team lose 1-6. In 2013, there was only a 1-1 draw.

And in October 2020, they won 2-1 for the first time against Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier in Qatar. It was Argentina’s first away win in 11 years.

[Messi became coach of the Argentina national team. Even though he was an active player, he coached the national team for the first time in his life during a World Cup group preliminaries. The candidate players are wearing uniforms, but Messi is wearing training clothes. Photo = Getty Images Korea]

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