Jorge Sampaoli has come under intense scrutiny following their draw against Iceland. One man that was not left out in the attack was legendary figure Diego Maradona who heavily criticised the manager for his tactics.
The two-time World Cup winners could only muster a point against the World Cup debutants in their first group game contrary to the bookmakers that predicted a flying start for the South American side.
Man City striker Aguero fired his team to an early lead before Iceland leveled up via a goalmouth scramble thanks to Alfred Finngobosan’s strike. Jorge Sampaoli’s men upped their game in the second half as they pressed for the winner and their effort was rewarded with a penalty, only for Messi to miss from the spot uncharacteristically.
The Argentine legend was utterly dissatisfied with Sampaoli’s tactics and couldn’t hide his emotions in a post-match interview.
“If he carries on like this, Sampaoli can’t come back to Argentina,” he said. “His game plan was a disgrace. Even though the Iceland players average 1.90m in height, we played all our corners into the air. We had no short game.
“I don’t blame the players. I blame a lack of preparation because there obviously hasn’t been any,” said the former World Cup winner and Argentine coach.
“You can bring 25 brilliant players with you, but you have to work with them. We can see that Iceland were better drilled than Argentina and that is a massive shame.”
L’Albiceleste star man and skipper Lionel Messi whose penalty miss turned out to be decisive, was exempted by Maradona who instead praised the impact he had on the game than the miss.
“It was extraordinary to see an Argentina without any answers, keeping their heads down, struggling to play accurate passes or one-twos,” he said.
“Messi was their only outlet. There is serious trouble ahead because Nigeria have experience, they know how to counter-attack, and they know how to score.”
Group leaders Croatia are the Argentines next opponent followed by the West-African giants Nigeria in what may turn out to be a keenly contested group if the Icelanders lose to Nigeria. Argentina are well placed to qualify from the group if they win their remaining games.