Argentina are on the brink of being knocked out of the World Cup.
A 3-0 defeat to Croatia on Thursday leaves them on one point from two matches and facing an embarrassing exit from the competition.
Things simply haven’t clicked for Lionel Messi and co. in Russia and questions are being asked of manager Jorge Sampaoli.
It’s easy to see why when you consider some of the decisions that Sampaoli has made.
Paulo Dybala has played just 22 minutes while Ever Banega and Giovani Lo Celso surely could have offered something more in midfield.
Enzo Perez started against Croatia despite not being in Sampaoli’s initial 23-man squad; he was called up after Manuel Lanzini suffered an ACL injury.
It’s hard to see how Sampaoli survives if Argentina fail to progress beyond the group stage.
Reaction in Argentina
Back in Argentina, the reaction has been scathing.
Sports newspaper Ole featured an image of Messi looking distressed on the front page with the headline: ‘Broken’.
Uno labelled Sampaoli ‘the father of defeat’ while Los Andes said the national team is ‘drowning in the fear that has paralysed them since 2014’.
And yet that is nothing compared to what happened on television show TyC Sports.
The host and his fellow analysts decided to hold a minute’s silence after the 3-0 defeat, summing up the impact that Argentina’s performance in Russia is having.
Just look at what this once-great team is doing to its country.
Messi has shouldered much of the blame back in his home country, with journalist Fernando Niembro delivering a scathing assessment of the captain, accusing him of selecting his friend, Javier Mascherano.
“Messi owns the Argentina team," Niembro said, per Marca.
"He is the coach of the Argentina team and what he decided to do is play his friend and this is the result of putting your friends.
“A weak team, a team that isn't what it can be, a team without heart.
"Messi we asked for heart. You are the best player, when a team fails what you ask of the best player is that you dig deep and you couldn't even do that.”
Argentina will be keeping a close eye on Friday’s match between Iceland and Nigeria.
An Iceland win would mean Argentina are all but out of the competition with one round of fixtures to play.
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