world cup news

Venezuela arrive early to acclimatise in Bolivia

May 26, 2009

Venezuela began training in high altitude La Paz on Tuesday, 12 days before their World Cup qualifier with Bolivia, as they attempted to avoid falling into the same trap as Diego Maradona's Argentina.

Argentina were thrashed 6-1 by Bolivia on April 1, having arrived in La Paz two hours before kick off and having taken no special measures for playing at 3,600 metres above sea level.

Maradona also fielded most of the side who had faced Venezuela in Buenos Aires only four days earlier.

The Venezuelan Football Federation (FVF) confirmed on their website that their team had arrived in La Paz on Monday and would begin training Tuesday.

Venezuela, who previously spent a week in Quito at 2,800 metres above sea level, have named only two foreign-based players in their 20-man squad for the match on June 6.

Another group, including European-based players from countries where the season has already finished, were due to begin training at home in Puerto Ordaz, where Venezuela host Uruguay on June 10, this week.

Venezuela still have an outside chance of qualifying for their first World Cup. With six games to play in the South American group, they are eighth with 13 points, four behind fifth-placed Uruguay.

The top four teams qualify directly for South Africa and the fifth plays off against the fourth CONCACAF team for another place.