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World Cup qualifiers: Argentina prepare for tough Bolivian conditions

Argentina are in La Paz and will play against Bolivia at high altitude, requiring the use of oxygen tubes during their stay.

Messi quiere otro récord en Bolivia
Luciano GonzálezEFE

The Argentina national team have arrived in Bolivia ahead of their second 2026 World Cup qualifier, after beating Ecuador 1-0 in their opening match thanks to a goal from Lionel Messi.

Cristian Romero, Nicolás Tagliafico and Alexis Mac Allister were some of the players who were seen using oxygen tubes, to help them acclimatize to the high altitude in La Paz, with the Liverpool midfielder posting a photo on his social media channels.

The product, rich in oxygen, can be found in various flavors, including grapefruit and mint. It is easy to use for those entering high-altitude areas, as it consists of bringing the mask under your nose and covering your mouth to inhale. The price of the tubes varies between $8.60 and $17.20, according to the official Boost Oxygen website, the American company that supplies the tubes.

Football fans with Lionel Messi jerseys wait for the arrival of the Argentine team at the airport in El Alto on September 10, 2023, ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier between Bolivia and Argentina.
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Football fans with Lionel Messi jerseys wait for the arrival of the Argentine team at the airport in El Alto on September 10, 2023, ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier between Bolivia and Argentina.JORGE BERNALAFP

Messi back in action

Inter Miami forward Messi will play his fourth game in La Paz, having last visited in 2020 for the World Cup qualifiers, where La Albiceleste won thanks to goals from forwards Lautaro Martínez and Joaquín Correa. However, on their first visit to the Bolivian capital, Argentina lost 6-1, with Diego Maradona in charge. That date, April 1, 2009, is still very present in Bolivian fans’ minds.

Bolivia vs Argentina online

In the 2014 Brazil qualifiers, Messi was part of the eleven that Alejandro Sabella fielded, which ended in a 1-1 draw. That match is also remembered for the altitude sickness that the Argentina squad suffered, with players vomiting at half-time due to the altitude.

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