How to Watch Argentina vs. Bolivia
Argentina hopes to close the gap on qualifying leaders Brazil when it welcomes Bolivia to Buenos Aires in the latest leg of its World Cup journey.
The fallout begins for Argentina following the unique hijinks witnessed in Sunday’s postponed World Cup qualifier against Brazil, starting with a home clash against struggling Bolivia.
La Albiceleste will make up for that missed meeting with the Selecao at a later date, with a selection of important personnel now missing for its final qualifier of the international break.
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The soccer world watched with eyes wide as Brazilian health officials stormed Arena Corinthians, halting the Superclásico de las Américas to check the Covid-19 status of certain Argentina players.
As a result, the game was called off and four Premier League players in the squad have been sent home, accused of falsifying paperwork and failing to notify they were traveling from the United Kingdom (red-listed in Brazil):
Sky Sports reported Tottenham Hotspur will fine Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero for traveling against their wishes. They’ll join Aston Villa duo Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendía in green-listed Croatia, used as a pitstop to avoid quarantine measures upon arrival back in England.
Atalanta’s Juan Musso is reportedly set to start between the posts in Martinez’s absence, while neither Romero nor Buendía need replacing after failing to feature during the break.
As for those still among manager Lionel Scaloni’s options, captain Lionel Messi played the 90 minutes in Argentina’s recent 3-1 win over Venezuela, his first international outing since joining Paris Saint-Germain.
Scaloni’s side sit seven places and nine points despite having played one game fewer in qualifying, though the two teams have scored the same number of goals to date.
And Bolivia’s record scorer Marcelo Martins Moreno accounts for 2/3 of the team's 12-goal haul, taking his tally to eight on Sunday when he converted twice in a 4-2 defeat to Uruguay:
La Albiceleste will have an edge in stamina considering the team played 90 minutes fewer than its midweek foes in the past week, with Bolivia still seeking its maiden win on Argentinian soil.
The teams first met in 1926 and have battled on 41 occasions in total, with five of Bolivia’s seven overall wins against Argentina coming under some form of World Cup conditions.
César Farías has won only two of his 17 games in charge of Bolivia’s national team, although road draws away to Chile and Paraguay are among the reasons to be upbeat in Buenos Aires.
Argentina will expect to have the ammunition in reserve to see off CONMEBOL’s leakiest defense in what could be an ideal fixture to restore some equilibrium following an uncertain spell.