CAPE TOWN SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 03: A dejected Argentina fan after being knocked out of the competition following the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Quarter Final match between Argentina and Germany at Green Point Stadium on July 3 2010 in Cape Town South Africa. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Copa America 2011, Argentina Vs. Bolivia: Sergio Aguero Goal Can't Save Albiceleste In Disappointing 1-1 Draw

Bolivia have done the unthinkable, taking a point off Argentina in La Plata. Sergio Aguero hit a brilliant strike in the second half, but the Albiceleste didn't have enough to pull off the expected win.

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Copa America 2011, Argentina Vs. Bolivia: Hosts Drop Points In Shocking 1-1 Draw

As the hosts and tournament favorites, Argentina were supposed to run over Bolivia. The small nation and the minnows of South American football were supposed to be a mere stepping stone for Argentina as they cruised into the knockout stages without much of a hiccup. Just like when they defeated Argentina 6-1 in La Paz in 2009, Bolivia didn't get the memo and proceeded to challenge Argentina for 90 minutes, fighting them to a 1-1 draw. Bolivia didn't look great going forward for any period of the match, but they held Argentina to just four or five scoring chances, and it would be unfair to say that they didn't earn their point.

The first half was rather uneventful, with Esteban Cambiasso missing badly from 10 yards out for the best chance of the half and Ezequiel Lavezzi putting one decent shot just wide. Argentina had all of the possession, but they were unable to create clear-cut chances as Bolivia played a physical game and defended well. At halftime, Sergio Batista made a tactical switch, bringing in winger Angel di Maria for central midfielder Esteban Cambiasso.

Bolivia would strike first in the second half, with Edivaldo scoring with a backheel on a corner kick that was terribly defended. The corner was taken low and to the near post, where Edivaldo ran onto the ball and tried his shot. Ever Banega should have been able to clear easily, but the ball rolled between his legs and over the line. It was an unfortunate moment for Banega, who had passed the ball brilliantly in midfield and, up until that point, looked like Argentina's best player.

For a period of about 20 minutes, it appeared that Argentina were actually going to lose the opening game of Copa America at home, but Batista's decision to substitute Sergio Aguero in for Carlos Tevez turned out to be the masterstroke that rescued a point for the Albiceleste. On a free kick in the 75th minute, Angel di Maria sent in a ball to the far post, towards Nicolas Burdisso. The big defender got up and chested the ball down to Aguero, who hit a stunning volley into the back of the net, equalizing for Argentina.

Both teams had scoring chances from then until the end, with Argentina looking considerably better, but neither was able to convert and the match ended in a draw that Bolivia will be much happier with than their opponents. Argentina's next match is against Colombia, who are a much more talented side than Bolivia. Ahead of that match, the alarm bells are now ringing in Argentina.


Copa America 2011, Argentina Vs. Bolivia: Sergio Aguero Goal Has Argentina Level

Through 75 minutes, Argentina had put in a poor performance and appeared to be headed for a disastrous result. With every minute that passed after Edivaldo's goal for Bolivia, it began to sink in more and more that Bolivia was, in fact, beating Argentina in La Plata in Copa America, and that this unbelievable result could actually happen. Then, Sergio Aguero struck.

Carlos Tevez was ineffective throughout the game for the Albiceleste, leading Sergio Batista to bring Aguero into the match. Instantly, he provided life to the side and looked every bit of the player that Atletico Madrid are unwilling to let go for less than 40 million Euros. After Lionel Messi drew a free kick, Angel di Maria took the set piece from 35 yards out, sending a ball to the far post, where Nicolas Burdisso was waiting. He chested the ball to Aguero, who hit a stunning volley into the back of the net from 12 yards out. With the game tied at 1-1 Argentina are still nowhere near the result their fans expected, but they're now one step closer to squeaking out three points.


Copa America 2011, Argentina Vs. Bolivia: Underdogs Bolivia Take Shocking Lead

Unbelievably, improbably, Argentina are trailing Bolivia in the second half of their first game of the 2011 Copa America. Despite being the worst side on the South American continent, Bolivia have defeated Argentina before, with a 6-1 win in La Paz in World Cup qualifying, but this is still a shock. On their home soil, Argentina were favorites to win the tournament, and this game wasn't supposed to be much of a problem. But, early in the second half, an Edivaldo goal on some awful defending has Bolivia in the lead.

The goal came on a corner kick where a low, near post corner was sent to the edge of the six yard box towards Edivaldo. He wasn't well closed down and hit a backheel shot towards the goal. It wasn't a particularly hard backheel and Ever Banega was right on the post, so it should have been cleared easily, but Banega completely whiffed on the ball as it went through his legs and into the goal. Goalkeeper Sergio Romero got his hand to the ball, but not until after it had crossed the line by a mere inch. The goal rightly stood, and Argentina have a mountain to climb. At home, against Bolivia. Incredible.


Copa America 2011, Argentina Vs. Bolivia: Disappointing Scoreless First Half For Hosts

So much for Argentina dominating Bolivia in the opening Copa America match. Hosting the tournament and with an obscene amount of talent on their roster, Argentina were supposed to cruise in the opener. They've been better than Bolivia, but they haven't dismantled the underdogs and they haven't created many chances. In fact, the 0-0 halftime scoreline is actually rather fair if you just take a look at the chances each team has had.

Lionel Messi has been bright, but he hasn't gotten much service and has had to drop deep to get touches. Ever Banega has been the best player on the pitch, tackling and getting forward regularly, but he's not getting much help from either of his midfielder counterparts, Javier Mascherano and Esteban Cambiasso. Meanwhile, Carlos Tevez had the match's best chance just after kickoff when he was unmarked for a header on a Messi free kick, but he sent it well wide of the goal. 

When you have Fernando Gago as the worst player on your team, Angel di Maria, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Diego Milito on the bench, you should not have any issue at all with Bolivia, but Argentina are. Is the pressure of being at home and trying to end an 18 year trophy drought getting to them?


Copa America 2011, Argentina Vs. Bolivia: Angel Di Maria Replaces Esteban Cambiasso

After an average first half where Argentina dominated, but failed to create clear-cut scoring chances, they have made a dramatic tactical change to start the second half, bringing on Angel di Maria, a very attacking left winger, for Esteban Cambiasso, a two-way central midfielder, who leans towards being a defensive midfielder. In fact, it was Cambiasso who had Argentina's best chance of the half, but he completely missed an empty net on a scramble in the box.

Cambiasso has been brilliant over the years for his club, Inter Milan, but he's been unremarkable - if not poor - in an Argentina shirt since about 2008. This substitution will cause some kind of tactical shift, but it's not entirely obvious what Sergio Batista is doing. It's possible that he could be going with a very attack-minded 4-2-3-1 formation with Lionel Messi behind Carlos Tevez and Ezequiel Lavezzi and di Maria on either wing, but the actual setup is anyone's guess.


Copa America 2011: Where To Watch Argentina Vs. Bolivia On TV And Streaming Live Online

Thanks to the wonders of satellite television and the internet, Copa America has become well-known and well-respected across the entire world. People from everywhere are interested in seeing some of the best professional players in Europe play for their countries more than just once every four years, and Copa America is always an excellent spectacle. Argentina and Bolivia kick off the action this year, and you can watch it on TV or the internet basically anywhere in the world

Argentina vs. Bolivia

Time: 8:45 pm ET

Venue: Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata, Argentina

Television: Telefutura (United States), ESPN (United Kingdom), EuroWorld Sport (Canada), Fox Sports Latin America (Mexico, Central and South America), Setanta Sports (Australia), SuperSport (Most of Africa)

Online: Youtube (United States and International)

Yes, you can watch the entire tournament on Youtube for free. There are both English and Spanish commentary options. You can watch the games on the official Copa America Youtube channel right here.


Copa America 2011, Argentina Vs. Bolivia: Lineups

After a fantastic opening ceremony in La Plata, Bolivia and Argentina have decided to actually play some football to open the 2011 Copa America. Honestly, I would have been okay with just watching some dancers run around a glowing orb for two hours, but this works too. As expected, Argentina's starting lineup includes Carlos Tevez, who was thought to be on the outside of the team for a while. Also in the team are Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti, the two Inter Milan stars who Diego Maradona left off the World Cup team. Oh, and they're playing that Lionel Messi dude, who I hear is okay. Here are the lineups.

Argentina lineup: Romero: Zanetti, Milito, Burdisso, Rojo; Mascherano, Banega, Cambiasso; Tevez, Messi, Lavezzi

Bolivia lineup: Arias; Alvarez, Raldes, Rivero, Gutierrez; Robles, Flores, Vaca, Campos; Rojas, Martins

The match kicks off at 8:45 pm ET from La Plata, Argentina, and the hosts are expected to win big.


Copa America 2011, Argentina Vs. Bolivia: Revisiting Bolivia's Domination In La Paz

The last time Argentina and Bolivia squared off it was on April 1, 2009 as part of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in La Paz, Bolivia and it was a shocker of a result. Playing at an altitude of 3,637 meters in La Paz is never an easy task, but Argentina couldn't just blame the altitude for being embarrassed. The Bolivians routed them to the tune of 6-1. Let that sink in. 6-1. And to Argentina, one of the world's premier teams, against a team that finished second to the bottom in qualifying. It was as embarrassing a day as there has been for Argentina.

The massacre started with a Marcelo Martins goal, but Luis Gonzalez answered that for Argentina in the 25th minute. A 34th minute penalty by Joaquin Botero made it 2-1 Bolivia. Alex Da Rosa scored one of his own, Didi Torrico added a late tally and Botero scored two more to finish off the hat trick. The Argentineans walked off the field at Estadio Hernando Siles rightfully embarrassed and wondering what was next.

Argentina had equaled their worst defeat in history and manager Diego Maradona, whose qualifications to manage were questionable at best, was under fire, although that didn't make him any less outspoken. At that point Argentina was sitting fifth in CONMEBOL qualifying. The fifth place finisher had to play a two-legged playoff to qualify for a World Cup berth so things were looking down for La Albiceleste

Eventually, Maradona led the team to fourth in qualifying and a World Cup spot. it didn't erase the memory of the embarrassment in La Paz though. The Argentineans had been taken to the woodshed by a minnow. The 6-1 scoreline was in the record books as a match that marks the low point in Argentina football.

Now they get ready to open Copa America against that same Bolivian side. They should and probably will have their way with Bolivia much the same way that they were demolished in qualifying, but as good as Argentina may look it will not erase the terrible memory from April 1, 2009.


Copa America 2011, Argentina Vs. Bolivia: New Look Albiceleste Look To Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez

Going into the 2010 World Cup, Argentina were among the big favorites. Yes, they had a crazy person for a manager in Diego Maradona, but they also had Lionel Messi, the best player in the world. They ran into a brick wall in the quarterfinals as they were completely and thoroughly destroyed by Germany, but they should be a much different team going forward. Argentina are the hosts of the 2011 Copa America, and the now Sergio Batista lead team is expected to reach the final, at bare minimum. They kick off the tournament tonight with a match against Bolivia - oh, poor Bolivia - where anything less than an emphatic beat-down will be seen as a failure.

Batista, by all accounts, is completely changing the gameplan from the Maradona days. Expect to see a couple of true fullbacks with some crossing ability, a solid three-man center of midfield with great passing player at the tip, and Lionel Messi playing the way that he plays with Barcelona. Carlos Tevez and Ezequiel Lavezzi will both start, while Angel di Maria starts on the bench. 

Tonight's match in La Plata is more or less a warm-up game and a fun little run-out for Argentina. It's basically a given that they'll win tonight, and the same thing can be said about their impending match against Costa Rica. Argentina could probably play a complete B team and win those two games, to be honest. Their real test will come against Colombia on July 6. Tonight, all we'll learn is whether or not their fans have reason to be worried about that match. Even a disastrous performance should probably result in three points for the Albiceleste tonight against the weakest team in this competition.

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