Photo. ''Estadio Hernando Siles'' is a sports stadium in La Paz, Bolivia - one of the highest professional stadiums in the world.
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''Estadio Hernando Siles'' is a sports stadium in La Paz, Bolivia. It is the country's largest sports complex with a capacity of 41,143 seats. It is named after Hernando Siles Reyes, the 31st President of Bolivia (1926–1930). The stadium is located in the Miraflores borough of La Paz, at an altitude of 3,637 metres (11,932 feet) above sea level, making it one of the highest professional stadiums in the world.
The Stadium was opened in 1931 with a match between The Strongest and its classic rival, Universitario, with The Strongest winning 4–1. It is the home ground of three major Bolivian league football clubs, Club Bolivar, The Strongest and La Paz F.C. as well as several smaller top sides: Universitario de La Paz, Chaco Petrolero and Mariscal Braun.
The stadium also host lower league clubs: Fraternidad Tigres and Academia de Balompié Boliviano. The stadium has been the site of historic moments in Bolivian football history, including Bolivia's 2–0 defeat of Brazil in the 1993 qualifiers for World Cup 94, Brazil's first defeat in 40 years of playing the qualifiers. Another such moment of this history occurred on April 1, 2009 when Bolivia defeated Argentina 6–1, inflicting the worst defeat for Argentina in 60 years. Most recently defeating an underweight Brazil 2–1.
The high-altitude football controversy arose in May 2007 when FIFA introduced a temporary ban on international matches at more than 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) above sea level, citing concerns about players' health and the "unfair" advantage to acclimatised home teams. The ruling meant that Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia would be prevented from hosting FIFA World Cup qualifiers in their own capital cities. The ban was rescinded in May 2008.
Real Madrid’s Angel di Maria and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi suffered as Argentina drew 1-1 with Bolivia playing at the latters high altitude Estadio Hernandos Siles on 26th March 2013. Argentina’s players were clearly struggling for breath as they were held by Bolivia for World Cup qualification. Some of the players had a headache and others felt a bit dizzy. They needed time to recover for every effort they made. Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria required the aid of an oxygen mask mid-match to cope, whilst Javier Mascherano and Ezequiel Lavezzi also needed oxygen.
Stein Morten Lund, 20th July 2002