Lionel Messi is back on the field wearing the Argentina jersey. His national side is all set to face Bolivia in the South American qualifier for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Bolivia's national team head coach, Cesar Farias, has issued a brutal warning for Messi and Argentina.
Farias said that the experience of playing in the stadium in La Paz is unlike other cities. He said, "Playing in the Hernando Siles [the stadium in La Paz] is not like other cities. There's nothing like it. We have to avoid the Bolivian lament of being the poor little things. Let them say that we're nasty, it doesn't matter. But we want to eat the liver of our opponents at altitude."
Bolivia will be playing their first home game in the qualifiers on Tuesday. While doing so, Farias wants his team to outplay the visitors by taking full advantage of their home conditions. Hernando Siles has a fearful reputation among the visiting players.
The stadium is situated 3,600 metres above sea level. It's more like Bolivia's fortress where opponents who fail to acclimatise are left gasping for breath. In most scenarios, the visitors end up not being able to play their normal game.
When it comes to Argentina, they have also struggled in the past while playing at La Paz, despite having Messi in their lineup. According to 90 Min, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner vomited while playing against Bolivia on this ground back in 2013. On the other hand, Angel Di Maria needed an oxygen mask to bring his breathing back to normal. Consequently, the Argentine squad will be more cautious ahead of their encounter.
It is understood that the visitors have prepared a bit differently for their game this time. They plan to spend two nights at such a high altitude before the game. However, it remains to be seen if that method works when the action begins. Messi and co. will be hoping to continue their good form after starting their qualification round with a win against Ecuador.
In contrast, Bolivia was thrashed by Brazil 5-0 away on Friday. However, they left some of their best footballers at home, waiting for Tuesday's encounter. Bolivia must pick up maximum points in their home matches if they wish to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.