Bolivia vs. Argentina, 2014 World Cup qualifying: Final score 1-1, Albiceleste will be satisfied

Dennis Grombkowski

A draw is a decent result for Argentina, who will be happy that Tuesday's match wasn't anywhere near a repeat of their last World Cup qualifying match in La Paz.

Bolivia will not make the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, because they don't have a great team. They're a small country with an average domestic league that hasn't truly competed on the world stage in a long time. However, it's very difficult to play in La Paz, over a mile above sea level. To aid their advantage, Bolivia doesn't cut or water their grass like most teams do. This gives them a big advantage over technically gifted teams from places at sea level, like Argentina.

During the last World Cup qualifying cycle, Bolivia destroyed Argentina in La Paz, 6-1. Aware of the danger that the hosts presented, Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella completely changed his team, switching to a back three and introducing Rodrigo Palacio. It worked to an extent, as Argentina earned a 1-1 draw.

For the first 15 minutes, the game was completely controlled by Bolivia, which might have been a tactic on the part of the Albiceleste. When they got a hold of the ball at points in the second half, they looked dangerous on the break. Their first big chance came in the 19th minute, when Sergio Galarza came up with a big save on Palacio, set up by Angel Di Maria. Their strategy to sit back only helped them on the counter because of Sergio Romero, however. He was brilliant in the first half, particularly in the first 15 minutes, making a number of excellent saves.

Bolivia struck first, however, and they did through the one type of attack that Argentina's tactics should have taken away. Marcelo Martins found a space between two central defenders on a cross from Alejandro Chumacero and nodded past Romero, putting his side deservedly in front.

The Argentina equalizer came just before the stroke of halftime, and from the most unlikely of sources. Clemente Rodriguez, a bit of a surprise starter at the right wingback spot, set up the goal with a cross to Ever Banega. Argentina's 5'8" deep-lying playmaker got on the end of the cross with a header, netting a goal so improbable that it probably should have counted twice.

Unfortunately for Argentina, all goals count the same, and they were only able to secure a single point. The second half was a bit less frantic, as both teams seemed more reluctant to give up a decent point than they were willing to take risks to find a winner.

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More in Soccer:

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Full coverage of CONCACAF qualifying, including USA-Mexico

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Uruguay battle Chile in CONMEBOL qualifying

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