Reports from the Argentina camp say the Albiceleste have passed a vote of no confidence in their Manager, Jorge Sampaoli and have elected the big players, Lionel Messi, Javier Mescharano and Angel di Maria to pick the team that will play against Nigeria tomorrow.
Argentina needs to beat Nigeria to retain hopes of qualifying for the second round of the competition and the players feel they may not achieve that if Sampaoli continued to manage the squad. Although the Argentina Football Association (AFA) has given the coach the nod to continue in his position, it has also allowed the players to select the line up for tomorrow’s game.
The London Mail reports that the players met with the AFA general manager, Jorge Burruchaga shortly after Thursday’s 0-3 loss to Croatia and they agreed the stars would decide who plays in the crucial game against Nigeria.
According to 1986 World Cup winner, Ricardo Giusti, Burruchaga has confirmed that the coach has been stripped of his effective power ahead of the Nigeria game.Giusti said: “The players will decide the team, that’s a fact. If Sampaoli wants to sit in the bench, he can do it. If not, no problem.’Sampaoli was reported to be in talks with Argentine FA president Claudio Tapia late on Saturday night but looked like keeping his job, though having to take account of the players’ concerns.
Messi and Javier Mascherano, as the senior players, would be most likely to be consulted to revive the campaign, with Argentina needing a win over Nigeria to take second place in the group, assuming that Iceland don’t beat Croatia and better Argentina’s goal difference.
Argentina has only one point from two matches after drawing 1-1 with Iceland and recording an embarrassing 0-3 loss to Croatia. The Albiceleste is bottom of group D table, two points adrift of second, and need a win against Nigeria to stand any chance of progressing.
The report claims that Messi is particularly worried that if Argentina failed to qualify for the second round, his dream of winning the World Cup would be dashed forever.The skipper who has been given one last chance to try and salvage his fledgling campaign by Nigeria’s defeat of Iceland, says they must now beat the Eagles in their final group game to have any chance of progressing.
He told the London Mirror, “It means so much because for Argentina the World Cup is special – and for me too.“I’ve always had the dream of watching me raise the World Cup. And then seeing the emotion that goes with it.“My hair stands on end just thinking about that moment. It would make millions of Argentine’s in the world happy. So we cannot give up on that dream.”