Football

Reports: Argentina's Players Oust Sampaoli Ahead Of Nigeria Clash

Reports: Argentina's Players Oust Sampaoli Ahead Of Nigeria Clash

The astounding sense of loss surrounding Argentina's 3-0 defeat to Croatia was tempered somewhat when Nigeria did Jorge Sampaoli's side a huge favour, and beat Iceland 2-0.

With Croatia safely through to the round-of-16, each of the remaining sides in Group have an opportunity to join them in the final round of games. Iceland take on the Croats hoping that some semblance of complacency will have crept in. In the group's other tie, Argentina and Nigeria will battle it out in what will be - barring an Iceland win - a 'winner takes all' game.

Although their flaws were regularly highlighted in the build-up to this World Cup, few suspected Argentina to fall so far by the wayside in their opening games. With the presence of Lionel Messi thought to negate many of these shortcomings, Argentina have nevertheless floundered; no figure feeling the brunt of this greater than Sampaoli.

Ahead of their decisive tie with Nigeria on Tuesday, reports from Argentina suggest that the nation's football association, and the players themselves, have grown weary of Sampaoli, and will work amongst themselves to decide on how the team approaches what may be their final game of the 2018 World Cup.

Ricardo Giusti, a World Cup-winner with Argentina in 1986, has declared that "the players will decide the team, that's a fact." Suggesting that Sampaoli can sit on the bench during the match if he wants, he believes it will be "no problem" at all if he isn't seen again.

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Widely thought to be leaving Argentina after the World Cup, the reduced status of Sampaoli's role within the Argentine set up was reportedly revealed to Giusti by Jorge Burruchaga, the general manager of the AFA.

Speaking ahead of the game, Javier Mascherano has debated the legitimacy of Giusti's assessment however:

The relationship with Sampaoli is totally normal, but if we feel uncomfortable, we will raise it, otherwise we would be hypocrites, the opposite would be to harm the team, we must seek the collective benefit, we are 23, also those of the bank.

See Also: 'It's Coming Home' - Predictably Hyped Reaction As England Win In Style

Arthur James O'Dea

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