Wednesday night Jenna and I had the chance to go to our highest profile World Cup qualifying match yet as Paraguay hosted Argentina. We had fantastic seats for the game as we sat just off of midfield in the 14th row! The stadium is a very different setup than Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro. There is no track around the outside so the seats are much closer to the field, there are assigned seats so you don't have to get there 4 hours early, they just renovated part of it so it seems nicer and newer, and it is a bit smaller than Olimpico as well.
This was a huge game on many levels which I'll try to summarize for you. First for Paraguay a win meant qualification to the World Cup. Secondly Argentina has not been playing well recently (that's putting it mildly) and is in danger of not qualifying for the World Cup which is a big deal since they're one of the world powers and a legendary team in general. Speaking of legends, the coach of Argentina's team is Diego Maradonna who is one of the 2 players people talk about in the discussion of the best player in the history of soccer. Here is a fuzzy dark picture of him roaming the sidelines.
Argentina also boasts one of the current best and most famous players in the world in Lionel Messi. (I made the analogy that it was like watching Michael Jordan coach LeBron James.) Naturally I took a few pictures of him given his fame.
Overall Argentina didn't play well and Paraguay was impressive. They dominated the game and should have won by a bigger score than the 1 -0 final but the crowd was not complaining! The fans did a lot more singing and chanting than the Hondurans which I think was a direct result of them being a bit more coherent since there is no beer sold inside the stadium (though you can ask some vendors for "leche" and they'll bring you some beer on the DL). Fantastic experience all around and we look forward to watching the team next year in the Cup!