Argentina’s exit from the World Cup at the round-of-16 has increased the pressure on manager Jorge Sampoli, who has been rightly criticised for his lack of imagination in team selection and tactics.
The former Chile national team coach, however, refused to throw in the towel after his team’s 4-3 loss to France and said: “We are out of the World Cup and it’s painful. Our players gave everything on the field but they have not achieved their goal in Russia. I am sad and frustrated, and that tells me I should not make any decision (on my future) right now.”
Defending his regular tinkering in tactics – Argentina started with a 4-3-3 system with Lionel Messi as a false No. 9 even after the team secured a 2-1 win over Nigeria employing a 4-4-2 system – the manger said the changes were necessitated to bring the best out of Messi.
“The change in tactics was because of the necessity to win rather than lack of identity. We tried many different tactics, to surround Messi, create positions for Messi, sometimes we managed to do so and sometimes we didn't,” Sampoli said. “France went for counter attack, while we went for ball possession, but maybe I would have preferred the team to work differently. Ultimately, we lost control when we didn't have the ball and that cost us.”
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