Argentina Coach Sampaoli Claims Teammates Letting Messi Down In Troubled World Cup Qualifying Campaign

Argentina Coach Sampaoli Claims Teammates Letting Messi Down In Troubled World Cup Qualifying Campaign

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli praised the “incredible” Lionel Messi, challenging his team to reach the star’s level when they face Ecuador in a must-win World Cup qualifier in Quito on Tuesday if they hope to salvage a place at Russia 2018.

Messi has scored four goals in nine qualifiers this campaign, but the last of those came in March, when Edgardo Bauza was still in charge.

However, Sampaoli praised the Barcelona star and said it was up to the 30-year-old’s team-mates to reach his level.

“In these three games, I led an incredible Messi – committed, pressing,” he told a news conference on Monday.

“If we are at Messi’s level, the match will go very well.”

Sampaoli said he still had some doubts over who would start, while he played down the significance of the altitude in Quito.

The 57-year-old said he would accept a result whichever way it came, with rain also forecast.

“On this occasion, I’m going to be happy if the team win even if they don’t deserve it,” Sampaoli said.

“I hope that qualification will be achieved because, beyond the numbers, Argentina deserve it.”

Argentina (25 points) are sixth in the standings, but a win would see them rise above Colombia (26) or Peru (25), who meet in Lima.

A win would secure at least a play-off spot for Sampaoli’s side, with Uruguay (28 points), Chile (26) and Paraguay (24) also looking to seal places.

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COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 3
  • Look I believe Messing is the Argentina problem. He carries his problems in Barca to the Argentine team. When he is not happy, he brings his unhappiness with him to the national team. Other factors like drawing where they were suppose to win. The Ecuador altitude is a draw factor where they were literally running out of breath. Argentina has a general problem and its on the whole team. Blaming all but Messing is a wrong move. Let only Messing go and play na. More problem for Argentina with this like of unguarded statement.

  • What do even play sef?

  • Make him absent for once