FIFA World Cup

Bolivia vs. Argentina: La Albiceleste Will Confirm No. 1 Status with Huge Win

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - FEBRUARY 06:  Lionel Messi of Argentina in action during the International Friendly match between Sweden and Argentina at the Friends Arena on February 6, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIMarch 26, 2013

Argentina will come into their World Cup qualifying match against Bolivia as incredibly hot favorites to extend their lead on top of the CONMEBOL standings.

Currently six points clear in first place and with only one defeat through their 10 matches so far, La Albiceleste have been incredibly dominant throughout the tournament. As a result, they're largely expected to continue that when they square off against Bolivia this week.

Bolivia, after all, have just two wins from their 10 fixtures so far and are tied for last place in the group—something that probably isn't going to be improved by taking on the might of Argentina.

There could be an upset—you never know—but the reality is that all signs point to this being a relatively comfortable win for Alejandro Sabella's men.

Especially given that far more is at stake for the South American powerhouse than just winning this game or achieving another three points.

In reality, Argentina could relax in this one and likely still win.

Heck, even if they didn't win they'd still hold such a commanding lead in the CONMEBOL standings that it wouldn't matter if they suffered a shock loss.

But they're going to be strong, disciplined and ruthless here to ensure that they win the No. 1 overall spot in the qualifying standings this year.

Especially on this weekend, when Brazil looked lethargic and out of sorts against Italy, Argentina will be desperate to appear cohesive and strong.

A win here would seriously bring into question which South American powerhouse is indeed the greatest football nation on the continent.

The last few decades we would instantly have said Brazil. 

But upon watching them play this weekend and watching how strong Argentina have been throughout their qualifying matches, we now seriously consider that notion more than we would have done before.

The reality is that Brazil—who automatically progress through to the World Cup as hosts—aren't the same powerhouse that they were five years ago.  And the reality is that Argentina—with Lionel Messi orchestrating their attack—are far more dominant than they were five years ago.

La Albiceleste will face some struggles in Bolivia due to the incredible distance above sea level in which this match will be played. But unlike Brazil in their friendly, they won't appear disjointed or unsure about their attacking direction; they'll be strong and disciplined and will likely chalk up a commanding victory away from home in this one.

Whether that will answer the debate as to who the best South American country is or whether it will simply make it more debatable still remains to be seen.

A win would put Argentina just six points away from qualification and on the precipice of showing just what they can do at the 2014 World Cup. Which, as we'll soon see, could be pretty memorable.

Even for the hosts themselves.

 

Who do you think the best team in South America is at the moment?

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