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Argentina consider playing crucial World Cup game at Boca's ground

Currently fifth in CONMEBOL, Craig Burley still sees Argentina making it to Russia 2018, albeit in tense fashion.
Jorge Sampaoli was frustrated Argentina couldn't make the most of Lionel Messi as they laboured to a draw versus Venezuela.

The Argentina Football Association (AFA) is considering a change of venue for the national team's crucial World Cup qualifier against Peru on Oct. 5, according to reports in Argentina.

Tycsports reports that the AFA could move the game to Boca Juniors' La Bombonera stadium rather than the Monumental, home of River Plate.

Argentina head into next month's home encounter in dire need of three points following draws in Uruguay and at home to Venezuela left them fifth in the standings and only in a playoff place with two qualifying games remaining.

The La Nacion newspaper believes the AFA's wish will be discarded for "financial, regulatory and even sentimental reasons."

La Bombonera has a smaller capacity than the Monumental and has not been approved by FIFA as a venue for the qualifiers, a process that would take time.

Moreover, Argentina missed out on the 1970 World Cup after a 2-2 draw with Peru at Boca's ground in a qualifier on Aug. 31, 1969, a result that still haunts Argentines.

Lionel Messi leaves the field after a disappointing World Cup qualifying draw for Argentina vs. Venezuela.
Argentina could miss out on the World Cup finals.

"I was at the Boca stadium in 1969 when were were ousted," River Plate president Rodolfo D'Onofrio told Clarin. "I wouldn't choose that stadium against Peru.

"Perhaps for another game but not with Peru... just in case the same thing happens."

D'Onofrio believes a change of venue is not in AFA's interest.

"It doesn't change my life that they want a different stadium," he said. "But River's is bigger, with a lot more capacity.

"I find it strange that they want to go somewhere else where AFA would get less money from ticket sales."

Argentina, coached by Jorge Sampaoli, are level on points with Peru, who are fourth and hold the last direct qualifying spot heading into next month's crucial games. Copa America winners Chile are sixth in the standings, just one point adrift of Peru and Argentina.

The Albiceleste end their qualifying campaign against Ecuador in Quito on Oct. 10.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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