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Saturday, January 22, 2022

A boomerang for Chileans: the danger of playing against Argentina in the Calama desert

chili will move in January to one of the most desert regions on the planet in order to welcome a Argentina already classified, looking for one of the still vacant tickets in South America for the Qatar World Cup 2022. CONMEBOL confirmed last Tuesday that La Roja will be able to play on January 27 at the Zorros del Desierto stadium in Calama, a city about 1,500 kilometers north of Santiago de Chile, the capital where the national team usually plays its matches.

Chile is committed to the less friendly geographical conditions of Calama – a desert at more than 2,200 meters above sea level – to condition Argentina’s game, but also as a test base for what will be a risky visit to Bolivia ( 15) five days later in La Paz at 3,640 meters above sea level.

The problem for Martín Lasarte’s team is that geographical conditions will not only affect the players on the visit. The locals are also in the same danger in the sense that several Chilean footballers are not used to playing at height. Some did, but others, like Ben Brereton, never went through these circumstances.

This is the case, for example, of full-back Mauricio Isla, who has recently recognized that playing outside the plain is not the most favorable for him, an opinion shared by Paulo Díaz, a River Plate footballer. “Most of us are not used to the height of Calama”said the one from ‘Millo’.

“Most of us who play abroad are not used to playing in Calama either. The same thing happens to Ecuadorians. Most come from Europe and are not used to the height of Quito. The important thing will be to face it in the best way, concentrating ”, he asserted for his part the defender of Flamengo.

Leaders Brazil (35) and Argentina (29) buckled their qualification to Qatar in November with four rounds left to conclude the tie. Ecuador (23) and Colombia (17) occupy the other two direct qualifying positions for now, while Peru (17) is in fifth place, which would ensure the dispute of a playoff against an Asian team. Chile is sixth with 16.

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