Argentina’s loss to Croatia on Thursday night has been something that was bound to happen sooner or later in this nascent world cup. From struggling to make qualification and winning one friendly against a not so much fancied opponent in Haiti, Argentina haven’t looked encouraging or promising in a long while.
To blame one player for such a situation is forgetting what this sport of football is all about. Lionel Messi is a great player on his day but even the greatest need a supporting cast to compliment them. How is Messi to stop Caballero from making such a stupid error in judgement when a simple boot of the ball would have done the trick?
Argentina’s problems stems from something far more deeper than one player. The whole team lack cohesion. From Di Maria who was a peripheral figure against Iceland and rightly lost his place, to Aguero who despite scoring a goal against Iceland looked a shell of the ruthless Manchester City striker we all know. Mascherano was lethargic in both games and seems unable to control that midfield with authority. I could go on…
But as is always the case the buck always stops with the manager. Jose Sampaoli was not much fancied man for the job by many and in build up to the tournament his selections were called into question with many feeling there far befitting players than those selected. He went into the tournament with a nation’s hopes on his shoulders but failed to find a solution to a problem Argentina has had for so long in defense. It was a night to forget for the him and his team.
Argentina can still qualify to the knock out stages but at this point they are better off going home and solving this conundrum of building a solid team capable of competing at the biggest of stages. Messi might have one last crack in four years to come but will have to hope the supporting cast won’t be as bad and anonymous as this one was.