The 2018 World Cup has been nothing short of a disaster for Argentina so far.
The Albiceleste only qualified for the tournament by a hair thanks to the individual brilliance of Lionel Messi.
However, even the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is quickly finding out that his unequalled abilities may not be enough on their own to salvage his country’s campaign.
A shock 1-1 draw with Iceland in their opening game was followed by a calamitous 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Croatia.
Surprisingly, Jorge Sampaoli’s men are still able to qualify from Group D depending on how they are against Nigeria; their final match really is a must-win.
Back home, the backlash against the manager has been huge, despite Sampaoli only taking over from Edgardo Bauza last year.
In fact, the mutiny hasn’t been restricted to the fans and media, with several reports now suggesting the players want the former Sevilla coach out too.
Mutiny in the Argentina camp
According to Marca, a meeting was held on Saturday amid rumours that the players actually wanted to pick the team and dictate the tactics for the Nigeria game, such was their loss of faith in their tattooed leader.
While the Argentinian FA have issued a denial, they have decided that Sampaoli is safe for now, but will be sacked at the end of the tournament. At this rate, that could be very soon.
The Sun have put further meat on the bones of these reports, even going as far as saying there has been a coup in the 2014 finalists’ camp.
It’s alleged Javier Mascherano was the ring-leader as senior players demanded to speak to Sampaoli.
Jorge Barruchaga, Argentina’s general manager who won the World Cup as a player in 1986, is the man the squad would like to see take over.
Ricardo Giusti, another member of the ’86 team, has been quoted by the newspaper:
“The players want to build the team. They told Sampaoli and Tapia that they are going to pick the side. Sampaoli can sit on the bench if he wants, but it won’t matter. It will be nothing to do with him.”
It certainly sounds like the dressing room has been lost and in another worrying claim, Mascherano allegedly “came to blows with forward Cristian Pavon after the Croatia defeat.
The entire team was left in disarray by the decision to switch to three at the back, as Argentina were left horribly exposed and exploited by Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitic.
Few will blame the players for having their doubts amidst what could be their worst World Cup in a long time.
What do you make of the players’ actions? Have your say in the comments.