Mascherano shocked by Argentina thrashing
Diego Maradona's men were thrashed in La Paz, suffering their worst defeat since they lost to Czechoslovakia by the same score in the 1958 World Cup.
The result means Argentina have now slipped to fourth in the South American CONMEBOL Qualifying Zone as a result, but Liverpool's Mascherano is confident the team will bounce back.
''The result is painful but it didn't show the reality of both teams,'' he said. ''We knew it was an important match. If we had won, we would have been closer to qualification.
''Bolivia played a perfect match. We never managed to get control of the game. Football is what it is. They played better than us in every area of the field. The score was too wide. You have to go back a long way to see Argentina play so badly but it's also a long time since Bolivia played so well.
''We are hurt but calm. It is a tough blow but the squad is united and we will overcome it.''
Defender Gabriel Heinze said the high altitude of the Estadio Hernando Siles - at 3,600 metres above sea level - should not be an excuse.
''The altitude has nothing to do with this,'' Mascherano insisted.
''They played perfectly while we found it difficult to make two or three successive passes. Bolivia seemed to play in a higher gear. We never imagined this would happen.''