With head coach Diego Maradona and his squad of superstars in town to face Bolivia in a World Cup qualifying match, it was expected to be another easy victory for Argentina ranked 6th in the world. However, it was the Bolivian team that shocked the entire continent with at the unexpected victory. It was not so much the victory that was considered to be unlikely, it was the final score of 6-1 that brought about renewed hope and faith in a team that was considered all but eliminated from the possibility of qualifying for the World Cup South Africa 2010.
Going into the game, many Bolivians dismissed the game as another loss by the home side. Ivan Rodriguez of Probarse es Gratis [es] was one of those people who said, “I was one of those skeptics, I admit it, I wouldn't even wager a piece of gum before the game.” During the course of the first half when Bolivia scored the first goal, heads began to turn and more people took an interest in the game. Dhampire [es] was at work during the match, but was able to catch a glimpse during his break. Soon his attention was placed squarely on the developing turn of events. Even with the halftime score 3-1 in favor of Bolivia, many like Willy Andres still expected the Argentines to come back to tie or even win the game [es].
When the final whistle sounded, few could believe the final score and celebrations began to erupt around the nation. In the days following the victory, it sparked a renewed pride in the national team. Even though there is an uphill battle to qualify for World Cup, mathematically it is still possible. Santiago Terceros of Insomniaco [es] wishes that they would play like this all the time. Some were even repentant. Gevalher on his Twitter account writes [es], “Bolivia beat Argentina 6-1, a thousand apologies to the national team for saying that they were useless.”
One blogger, Hugo Miranda of Angel Caido [es] proudly was at the game in person and captured and uploaded various videos of the game and some of the goals. It is a match that he won't forget anytime soon:
Hoy estuve ahi en el Siles junto a las 40000 personas, muchos que vinieron de Trinidad, Oruro, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Sucre, en fin de muchos partes del pais, que las entradas estaban caras.. claro que si, que la mayoria fue a ver a Messi, Tevez, Mascherano, Zanetti y demas platinados.. pues si.. pero todos los Bolivianos, en el interior sabiamos que se podia, que podiamos ganar…
Siempre he confiado en mi Seleccion, por que para los pobres la esperanza es lo unico que esta ahi, y sin eso no somos nada…….
Today I was there in (Stadium Hernando) Siles along with 40,000 people, many came from Trinidad, Oruro, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Sucre, and many other parts of the country, the tickets were expensive… of course, the majority came to see (Argentine players) Messi, Tevez, Mascherano, Zanetti and the rest of the stars.. but… all the Bolivians around the country knew that it could be done, that we could win…
I always had confidence in my National Team, because for the poor, hope is the only thing that is there and without that, we are nothing……
Not everyone took time off of work to go to the stadium or watch the match on television. In La Paz, Vania Balderrama of Capsula de Tiempo [es] did not want to go to the match to be disappointed, so she remained at work while her husband and children went to the stadium. However, during the course of the afternoon, she caught a glimpse of tweets from Bolivians every time there was another goal scored and that is how she found out about the historic win.
Following the match, the lopsided victory restarted the debate about playing football at such a high altitude. In the past couple of years, there has been a push to ban matches at above 2,500 meters above sea level, which would have eliminated La Paz as a possible site for matches. However, a campaign led by President Evo Morales has been defending Bolivia's right to play in La Paz, where many other South American teams, including Argentina in 2005, have won without any problem.
Finally, Gabriel Zuleta of Eufenismos [es] writes that the victory was welcome news for a country that has been experiencing a lot of internal conflict.
Bolivia supo atacar como nunca lo hace, esta vez los chicos demostraron GARRA, ENTUSIASMO, Dios quiera que esta motivacion se puede ver replicada en futuras presentaciones en el exterior y asi lograr la tan añorada y distante ilusion de participar en un MUNDIAL, otra vez… FELCIDADES BOLIVIANOS….. VIVA LA SELECCION!!!!!
Special thanks to Blogs Bolivia for some of the links included in this story.