The Argentine Football Association (AFA) has announced Jorge Sampaoli will not continue as national team head coach following a chaotic World Cup.
A 3-0 group stage defeat to Croatia following a 1-1 draw with Iceland left Argentina on the brink of a humiliating exit in Russia, before just about squeezing through to the knockout phase thanks to a 2-1 triumph over Nigeria.
That luck failed in the last 16 against France, however, when they were beaten 4-3 by the eventual tournament winners.
Sampaoli got the Argentina job after building a solid reputation in charge of Universidad de Chile, Chile and Sevilla, leaving the Spanish club at the end of the 2016-17 season after guiding them to Champions League football.
Given the regard many held Sampaoli in, there was great optimism that he would end Argentina’s period of underachievement and finally find the balance between getting the best out of Lionel Messi and making the team a success.
But very little has gone well for Sampaoli and Argentina since he took charge in May 2017, with the coach’s continuous tactical tweaks and strange selection choices baffling many.
[SELECCIÓN MAYOR] En el día de la fecha, la @AFA y Jorge Sampaoli llegaron a un acuerdo mutuo para terminar su ciclo al mando de la Selección Argentina https://t.co/VUhqiiswnJ pic.twitter.com/R0SxoxxPnc
— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) July 15, 2018
Throughout the World Cup, Argentina’s deficiencies through the middle and at the back continued to be exploited and France tore them apart at times, taking full advantage of their lack of pace, but Sampaoli failed to make alterations to address the problems.
A statement from the AFA reads:
“Today, the Argentina Football Association and the former national team coach, Jorge Sampaoli, have mutually agreed to the termination of their contract. Likewise, the physical trainer, Jorge Desio and the video analyst, Matias Manna, also disassociated themselves.
“Next Tuesday if will be defined who will be in charge of the Under-20 team in the COTIF L’Alcudia 2018 tournament.
“This association thanks the professionals for the developments within La Selección during their cycle.”