Wherever you look, Jorge Sampaoli’s Argentina squad is nowhere near living up to the expectations they are supposed to keep.
After their 3-0 loss to Croatia, the performance solidified that the team was without direction, had a lousy game plan, and have been in crisis for far too long.
In these cases, it is common to place the blame on one individual, however this time it falls on the coach and many players as well.
Because he is called the best player in the world, because he is placed at the level of Diego Maradona and because he is the captain, Messi always has a higher share of responsibility than the rest.
Against Iceland, he failed to score a penalty which would have been a very decisive goal and against Croatia he wandered the turf and hardly touced the ball.
The worst thing is that Messi seems to have already lowered his head and accepted defeat, he was not able to find the solution for his team and then allowed disillusionment to take over his game.
His blunder in the face of Ante Rebic was the one that opened Pandora’s box. It was an incomprehensible failure from a top-level goalkeeper during a very important World Cup match.
Many doubted the suitability of his presence between the sticks and now the public has a reason to justify those feelings.
The biggest target of frustration is usually the easiest one to blame and being the head coach, Sampaoli had no chance of avoiding this. Against Croatia, he tried to give the team a facelift and only made them worse.
The decision to call up Enzo Perez to the team is something only he can understand. Another change to the team came after Ever Banega’s collision when Sampaoli decided to sub in Paulo Dybala as the emergency solution.
Finally, Cristian Pavon, who should have held strong on the pitch played like garbage. Sampaoli preferred muscle to talent and that, in a team that does not have a lot of quality, is a luxury he cannot afford.
The surprise guest at La Albiceleste’s funeral. No one was counting on him and he surprisingly appeared in the starting XI. He was very destructive with Banega as a spectator and his obvious limitations when playing the ball.
Adding to that, he squandered a chance to break the 0-0 deadlock in the first half of the game. If Perez had predicted he was going to play like this, he himself would have preferred that Manuel Lanzini had not been injured.
While he has a great goal in his debut, his weaknesses returned for the game against a strong Croatian side. He did not show up, or even show up intermittently, to offer his teammates offensive assistance.
Gonzalo Higuain contributed more in his first five minutes on the pitch than Aguero did throughout the entire match.
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