Argentina are through to the round of 16 and are all set to face France on 30 June at FIFA World Cup 2018. But the little success can’t hide the embarrassment the 2014 edition runner-ups faced in the group stage round.
Argentina eyes Quarterfinals Berth
Before the team, coach Jorge Sampaoli heavily got criticised for his poor tactics and team selections. He also came under the hammer for his over-dependence on Argentina’s main man, Lionel Messi.
There is also some dispute as to whether Messi decided to bring on Sergio Aguero during Tuesday’s match with Nigeria.
In the do or die match against Nigeria, Sampaoli’s approach and behaviour looked all sorts of different. He appeared completely lost. And, it’s easy to see why so many people believe he’s asking Messi for instructions.
Even more so when his post-match comments are taken into account,
“When Leo came and hugged me, I felt very proud and happy. He knows I am very passionate, passionate every single day. I have had the possibility to travel with him and share many moments with him before the World Cup. He knows me, and he knows me well. He knows we have this common dream of coming to Russia and doing something important for Argentina.”
Sampaoli also came into the limelight after the humiliating defeat against Croatia. The coach talked about more about Messi than the overall team in the press conference.
Messi makes the decision at the camp
He even somehow criticised his side, as they failed to make chemistry with the Argentine captain. And, that’s not the end. Sampaoli also talked about his star man with more reverence than Real Madrid coaches are forced to talk about Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi is now giving the team-talks, too. He was seen giving instructions to the team in the dugout before the start of the second half against Nigeria.
Some reports suggested Sampaoli was set to get sacked after the loss against Croatia. But somehow he survived. He is still there in body, but he has lost almost all of his power. The result is a happier group, with Messi and Mascherano, emboldened by Tuesday’s victory, now calling the shots.