Argentina’s legendary former player Diego Maradona said that he could see the impending disaster that would take place and seal Argentina’s fate during the Round of 16 match against France.
Maradona had been skeptical of the Albiceleste’s chances at the World cup even before the start of the showpiece event. Maradona has now criticized Sampaoli for playing without an out-and-out striker and said that impending doom was foretold. According to the Argentine legend, his country did not have a good enough team for Russia World Cup.
“[I feel] bad that for another World Cup, Argentina couldn't manage to have a consistent team," he told Telesur's show 'De la mano del Diez.’
“However, you could already see it from the formation, as [we had already known] since we left Moscow that [Cristian] Pavon, [Lionel] Messi and [Angel] Di Maria were the ones who were going to attack against the French defence.
“I don't think they know a lot about [attacking] inside the box and pushing forward against the centre-backs.
“Yes, they know how to play the game but they are not strikers.
“I think we came here to a cinema rather than to a stadium, because we came to see the chronicle of a death foretold,” he said.
The 1986 World Cup winner went on to break down the reasons behind the elimination, backing the team's star, Lionel Messi. He said that without the presence of Messi, the team would be considered ordinary.
“[Argentina] didn't know how to attack and what to do when they had the ball," he remarked.
“France, on the contrary, have variety that seems to me that this Argentina never had.
“Messi was very far from the goal and I said that if he was to be put as [a false] No.9, he would have to come looking for the balls, set up the game and attack the goal.
“Without Messi, Argentina is just another team,” he concluded.