17 February 2024

HomeSportsFootballMessi sits on the sidelines as Argentina defeats Bolivia in a World Cup qualifying game.

Messi sits on the sidelines as Argentina defeats Bolivia in a World Cup qualifying game.

Argentina's Messi playing in field

Messi sits on the sidelines as Argentina defeats Bolivia in a World Cup qualifying game.

(Web Desk) Argentina’s Dominant Victory Over Bolivia: A Glimpse into World Cup Qualifying Journey Without Messi

In a strategic move, the reigning world champions, Argentina, chose to rest their star player Lionel Messi for their recent clash against Bolivia in La Paz. However, this decision proved to be inconsequential as they went on to secure a commanding 3-0 victory over a 10-man Bolivian side, further solidifying their perfect start to the South American World Cup qualifying campaign.

Argentina's Messi celebrating as he scores a goal

Lionel Messi, who had been tirelessly representing his club, Inter Miami, took a much-needed break after expressing fatigue following his crucial goal in the 1-0 win against Ecuador just days before. Instead of taking the field, he observed the match from the bench and was not included in the substitute list, marking an unusual absence for the iconic forward.

Surprisingly, despite missing their talisman, Argentina exhibited a dominant and cohesive performance on the field, showcasing their offensive prowess. The trio of Enzo Fernandez, Nicolas Tagliafico, and Nicolas Gonzalez emerged as the heroes of the match, successfully finding the back of the net and securing the victory for their team.

The game witnessed Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez coming tantalizingly close to opening the scoring with a remarkable long-range effort that was right on target, only to be thwarted by Bolivia’s goalkeeper, Guillermo Viscarra. Viscarra’s agile goalkeeping skills were tested yet again as he made a crucial save from a near-post strike by Julian Alvarez, who capitalized on some defensive errors.

Argentina celebrates as it scores a goal

Argentina took the lead in the 31st minute when Angel Di Maria delivered a precise cross, which was expertly met by Fernandez, executing a well-timed run into the box. The task at hand for Bolivia became even more challenging eight minutes later when Roberto Fernandez received a red card for a reckless challenge on Cristian Romero, leaving them with only 10 players on the field.

At halftime, Argentina comfortably held a 2-0 lead, thanks to Tagliafico’s header from a floated Di Maria free-kick. The dominance displayed in the first half continued into the second, with Alvarez hitting the post in the 70th minute. Viscarra remained busy, making crucial saves to deny efforts from Rodrigo De Paul and Di Maria.

Enzo Fernandez put the finishing touches on Argentina’s victory with a left-footed strike seven minutes from the end, capitalizing on more hesitant defending from the home side, sealing a resounding 3-0 win.

Argentina’s impressive performance in this match sends a powerful message to their competitors and sets the tone for their World Cup qualifying journey, demonstrating that they can excel even in the absence of their star player, Lionel Messi. While Messi’s absence was felt, Argentina’s depth and talent shone through, leaving fans and pundits alike optimistic about their prospects in the coming matches.

Argentina's midfielder Enzo Fernandez celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the 2026 FIFA World Cup South American qualifiers football match between Bolivia and Argentina, at the Hernando Siles stadium

In the wider context of South American World Cup qualifying, this victory positions Argentina favourably as they seek to secure a spot in the prestigious tournament. With other exciting matches taking place on the same day, including Ecuador hosting Uruguay, Venezuela facing Paraguay, Colombia travelling to Chile, and Brazil taking on Peru, the competition remains fierce, and the road to the World Cup promises to be thrilling and unpredictable. Argentina’s triumph over Bolivia serves as a reminder that they are a force to be reckoned with, even without their superstar, and that they are determined to defend their title on the world stage.

Argentina’s goal going forward would be to keep up their winning ways and qualify for the FIFA World Cup. While Messi continues to be a key member of the team, this triumph shows that Argentina is capable of competing at the greatest level both with and without its legendary leader. Fans can look forward to more entertaining contests and amazing moments from the Argentine national team as the qualifying rounds advance.

Coming back to Pakistan read the details of how India defeated Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023.

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