Jorge Sampaoli quits as Argentina coach after disastrous World Cup campaign

first_imgJorge Sampaoli stepped down as the coach of Argentina’s national team after the two-time champions were knocked out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the Round of 16 by eventual champions France.It was not just the fact that Argentina failed to advance to the quarter-finals that led to Sampaoli’s exit, it was because of the kind of performance that the South American nation put up in Russia.Argentina, despite having a scary qualifying campaign, were expected to come good at the big stage in Russia. However, Argentina had the worst possible start where they drew 1-1 with Iceland. They were then demolished 3-0 by Croatia and managed to edge Nigeria with a last-gasp goal to reach last 16.In the Round of 16, they were outplayed by France and particularly Kylian Mbappe and went down 4-3.”The Argentine Football Association and the ex-coach of the national team Jorge Sampaoli today reached a mutual agreement to rescind his contract,” the AFA said in a statement on Sunday.The AFA thanked 58-year-old Sampaoli and his assistants, who have also left their positions, for their services.The decision means that Argentina, world champions in 1978 and 1986, are looking for their fourth coach in four years.Sampaoli took over a year ago charged with putting together a side to first reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia and then mount a challenge for the trophy.His team – thanks largely to the brilliance of Lionel Messi – qualified for the tournament with a win in their last match.advertisementBut the World Cup was a struggle.The AFA’s decision to split with Sampaoli was on the expected line even though the former Sevilla coach had Chile’s 2015 Copa America win over Argentina in his resume and that he had a contract until 2022.Sampaoli inherited an ageing squad under a chaotic soccer federation and never looked like putting his stamp on a side that was inconsistent for most of his tenure.It means Argentina – who have had three different coaches since Alejandro Sabella led them to the World Cup final in 2014 – are back to square one in their search for a first major international title since winning the Copa America in 1993.Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino, Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid and River Plate’s Marcelo Gallardo, are among the coaches mentioned by local media as possible replacements.Another two Argentines, Jose Pekerman, who managed Colombia in Russia, and Ricardo Gareca, who took Peru to their first World Cup in 36 years, have also been tipped as possible candidates along with Jorge Almiron of Atletico Nacional and Matias Almeyda, who recently stood down at Mexican club Chivas.(With Reuters inputs)last_img read more