High altitude

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Updated: October 20, 2017


Let us venture back first, to Wednesday last week and the prerequisite. Argentina was on 25 points and in the sixth position which meant they were out regardless of outcomes in other games. Meanwhile, Peru was playing Colombia at home, both of which were one and two points ahead respectively. A draw in Lima while Argentina only managed a draw themselves would mean Messi and his band of brothers could take a vacation next summer.

The game in Lima did indeed end a draw, 1-1, but someone decided to simultaneously put on a show further up north. Lionel Messi scored a hat trick which meant they were through on own merit, regardless of how the clash between Peru and Colombia was about to finish.

It’s no small feat to step out in Estadio Olympico Athualpa and beat Ecuador. It’s certainly a good thing to keep in mind regarding betting advice and betting picks, that altitude does matter a great deal. Granted, Argentina did beat Ecuador and quite convincingly so this time but soccer picks in e.g. Copa Libertadores will be viewed in a new light if one understands the effect high altitude has on the human body, especially on humans not at all used to it.

La Paz in Bolivia – well over 3,000 meters above sea level – is another South American example of how a seemingly inferior home side will get away with a win, because their opponents struggle and can’t cope with the thinner air. These games have even been up for review within both FIFA and CONMEBOL, several times. Brazilian and Argentine clubs, as well as the national sides, have complained for years that these high altitude games constitute an unfair advantage for the home sides, more importantly they are claimed to be health hazards. Players have passed out before half time, the more fortunate get dizzy or suffer nose bleed. However, neither FIFA nor CONMEBOL have found ground to ban these kind of games.

Clubs participating in Copa Libertadores and national sides playing away in Ecuador, Bolivia or even Peru have to adopt, where the only way is getting used to the air. Some clubs travel days in advance from Río del la Plata or the Brazilian coastline simply for their players to acclimatise and get a better chance to handle the significant difference between playing at sea level, compared to thousands of meters above it.

It is a good thing to keep in mind next time a bet is being placed on a game between one Bolivian side and Brazilian visitors. In this past and ended South American qualifying campaign, for instance, neither Brazil nor Argentina managed to win in La Paz even though Bolivia was a dead duck in the water quite early on. It simply is one of the toughest away games to play, because of the high altitude.

/ Zvonko, BettingAdviceUSA.com