Editorial (June 30, 2018) – Argentina came up short in its attempt to shock France in the Round of 16. The South American team lost 4-3 to the Europeans to say goodbye to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Argentina had a disappointing tournament, the lack of ideas on the pitch was the main issue for a team who simply could not handle the pressure and the head coach Jorge Sampaoli knows it better.
In the post-match press conference, the Argentinean coach said it was not a collapse and believes his country will do it better next time. “It is frustrating, but not a failure. This frustration will make me stronger”, he claimed.
FIFA World Cup: Sampaoli said it is ”frustrating” but not a “failure” Argentina’s elimination
“It is heartbreaking to get out that way,” Sampaoli said. “The players gave it all, but we don’t reach our objective.”
Argentina could not maintain the 2-1 lead they had in the second half as France offensive was too much for Argentina defender’s Javier Mascherano, Nicolas Otamendi, Gabriel Mercado and Marcos Rojo.
“We took the lead but our advantage did not last for too long,” Sampaoli added. “France capitalized all of our errors. We knew they are speed players who can dominate the midfield and (Kylian) Mbappé made us pay.”
Argentina had a chance to send the match to extra time in the last play but the ball refused to pass through beyond the goal line.
“In the last play Argentina tried to tie but we weren’t able to force the extra time,” Sampaoli said. “It is really disappointed because we thought Argentina was going to go further in this World Cup.”
Sampaoli admitted the team was not able to make Lionel Messi feel comfortable to create his own space all tournament long.
“We have the best player in the world, we tried all the ways possible to give him the ball but sometimes it was difficult. Messi could not develop his game.”, Sampaoli explained.
Despite the elimination, Sampaoli is grateful with the group of players he has had since the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers and thinks he can learn from the mistakes and become a better head coach.
“I thank this group of players for put their hearts on the pitch for this country. I had the illusion to put Argentina in the top of the world again, unfortunately, this was not our tournament.”, he commented.
Looking into the future:
In addition, Sampaoli said he believes in Argentina’s football capacity for future events, he claims this country trust in the emergent players.
“I’m convinced Argentina has enough talent for upcoming tournaments,” he addressed. “We only have to take advantage of that in the future. This nation will become champion again.”
The Argentinean coach argued it is impossible to judge a process too early as the whole team is severely criticized for this elimination.
“This is football, you can’t analyze just in a video or a paper, there are anemic moments, or you can face a player like Mbappé who can beat you on his own,” he added.
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