Sabella looks to restore calm to Argentina

Calmness is not a commodity in abundance amongst the Argentina camp this week as Lionel Messi's team prepare to face Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier on Friday.

Nor is it with Chile, who kicked five players out of their squad for indiscipline ahead of their trip to Montevideo to play South American champions and qualifying group leaders Uruguay.

Argentina were humiliated by Venezuela 1-0 in their last qualifier a month ago having made an auspicious start to their South American group programme with a 4-1 rout of Chile four days earlier.

"With a good result in Venezuela, today I'd be more relaxed," coach Alejandro Sabella admitted.

"The reality is that there's a table and you have to get points. And the more points you get, the calmer you'll be," he told reporters.

Striker Gonzalo Higuain, who scored a hat-trick against Chile, said: "It's important to be able to win both matches. We must recover from the Venezuela match."

Argentina visit Colombia on Tuesday after the home match at the Monumental against a modest Bolivia team that thumped former coach Diego Maradona's side 6-1 in La Paz three years ago and held predecessor Sergio Batista's team 1-1 in the Copa America in July.

"[Bolivia] will come to hold out and not attack. We have to find the spaces, it's going to be difficult, as in the Copa America," Higuain told reporters.

Bolivia coach Gustavo Quinteros said: "We play better away so we'll try to repeat the Copa match and play at 100 percent and prevent Argentina from playing well."


Sabella has lost left winger Angel di Maria while Messi, nicknamed "Flea", has recovered from a stomach bug that kept him out of Tuesday's practice at the team's headquarters on the city outskirts.

One positive for Argentina is that Sabella can field a three-pronged attack with Messi, Higuain and Sergio Aguero, who scored the equaliser as a substitute against Bolivia in the Copa America, as he looks for an emphatic win.

Chile coach Claudio Borghi cut five players - midfielders Arturo Vidal, Jorge Valdivia and Carlos Carmona, winger Jean Beausejour and defender Gonzalo Jara - from his squad after they arrived late and drunk following an evening off on Tuesday.

"Five players arrived 45 minutes late and not in a state adequate to a professional player. So I took the decision to withdraw them [from the squad]," the Argentine said.

Chile, who have never beaten Uruguay away, overcame Peru 4-2 at home after their defeat in Buenos Aires last month. They drew 1-1 with Uruguay in a group game at the Copa America.

Borghi said he would not change his tactics.

"We'll face the match in the same way [as planned]. Incredibly, this was one of the few times we had most of the squad available. We were talking of the many players missing for Uruguay but now we are relatively the same."

On the plus side, Borghi welcomes Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez back from a bicep injury that put him out of action for nearly two months.

Diego Forlan is one of six players out for Uruguay - five injured and Maxi Pereira suspended. The group leaders