Uh-oh! Looks like Argentina is still not in the clear and the World Cup is still not a certain thing.
Remember how Chile was awarded 3 points and a 3-0 victory against Bolivia in September last year as a result of Bolivia fielding and ineligible player? Well, Bolivia had appealed the decision and was pretty confident their concerns would be addressed. Today we found out they will not be because their appeal was rejected.
This means that Chile keeps three points and remains in the automatic qualification zone in fourth place, one point above Argentina.
And it all comes down to Nelson Cabrera, a 34-year-old center back who has made three appearances for Bolivia of late. Except there’s one problem: He is actually from Paraguay. Cabrera is a Bolivian citizen playing for Bolivia’s national team and featured in the qualifying games against Peru and Chile. However, it seems he shouldn’t even have been playing in the first place, as he has previously been capped by Paraguay. Both Peru and Chile were awarded 3-0 victories as a result. Oops!
The Court of Arbitration for Sport(TAS), decided earlier today to uphold its previous decision. As a result, Chile remains in fourth place with 23 points, and Argentina in fifth place with 22. A fifth-place Argentina would have to face the third round winner of the Oceanian Footballing Confederation qualifiers, which will probably be against New Zealand.
Argentina has four games left, the toughest being against Uruguay, followed by an away trip to Ecuador, who sit just two points behind Argentina in the 6th place.
If Argentina fail to qualify for the World Cup, it will go down as one of the largest under performances in sporting history.
So… can you switch allegiance?
(This dude is Luis Monti, by the way, who won the 1927 South American Championship with Argentina and represented them in the 1930 World Cup Final. He later won the World Cup with Italy in 1934)
Now, in modern football many places switch their international allegiances. For example, over 34 Argentines have made the decision to represent Italy (at various levels) of late, the most notable being Mauro Camoranesi; born in Tandil, Buenos Aires Province, but represented Gli Azzuri 55 times, winning the World Cup in the process.
However, FIFA rules currently state that if you represent one nation in an official match, in any game other than a friendly, you can not switch your allegiances. This is the mistake that the Bolivians made.