It has been an overwhelmingly disappointing World Cup for Argentina. There were reports of mutiny, Messi's tears, several spectacularly flustered formations and ultimately a 4-3 loss against France in the last 16. Watching on from the sidelines for the majority of it was, surprisingly, Manchester City star Sergio Aguero.
Aguero faded from the starting team before Jorge Sampaoli's side faded from the tournament. He started and scored in their opening game and was then taken off in their 3-0 loss against Croatia. He did not start another game, coming on today and scoring a late consolation.
Imagine actually using Aguero from the start............ ridiculous. https://t.co/jay55kWOu1
— Nick 🇨🇦 (@Nick28T) June 30, 2018
What a ball from Messi. Also someone please explain to me how Aguero hasn’t played every minute of every match is this WC
— Rehan Ulhaq (@Rehan_ulhaq) June 30, 2018
Aguero legitimately Argentina's best player for the entire WC while openly feuding with an incompetent manager. Legend.
— Rob (@Razza_7) June 30, 2018
Despite reports that Sampaoli had been ousted by the players, journalist Jose Alvarez Haya of El Chiringuito TV has had several interesting reports in the Spanish media during the World Cup. He reports that the decision was nothing to do with on-field matters and Aguero's post-match interview after the Croatia defeat cost him his place for the rest of the tournament. When asked about Sampaoli's comments after that game, Aguero told reporters "let him say what he wants" before storming out of the interview.
Aguero: «Projecto falhou? Sampaoli que diga o que quiser»pic.twitter.com/LeKxFFnucJ
— Visão de Mercado (@visaomercado) June 21, 2018
Haya is a known friend of the Man City and Argentina striker and confirmed the news that Aguero would not start the last two games several days before the actual fixtures.
Kun Aguero WON'T play in the decisive match against Nigeria. Sampaoli will punish him for everything that happened the other day but publicly will justify it by sport reasons. Then will be out Argentina's only goal scorer in the World Cup that has played two very good games.
— Jose Alvarez Haya (@10JoseAlvarez) June 24, 2018
Statistics of Argentina before the "final" against Nigeria:
Kun - 38 goals- 4.640' played - 1 each 122'
Pipa - 32 goals - 5.037' played - 1 each 157'
Argentina scored 22 goles with Sampaoli:
Messi 6 (in 810')
Agüero 4 (in 308')
Banega 2 (in 507')
The rest between 10 players.
— Jose Alvarez Haya (@10JoseAlvarez) June 25, 2018
Sampaoli will play without 9 tomorrow. Kun is out again. It is very “clever” for the coach to say how he will play the day before the game for France can be ready for it. All the life, for big centre backs, fast strikers. Sampaoli did it again...
— Jose Alvarez Haya (@10JoseAlvarez) June 29, 2018
In hindsight, the non-selection had big ramifications on the field. With a reported lofty compensation due, Sampaoli told the press after he watched his team crash out of the World Cup that he will not resign. It appears his controversial reign will continue until the Argentine FA decide to intervene, and that decision could be costly.