Argentina are often touted as a one-man team and when Lionel Messi has failed to ignite, the team has generally shown a lack of ideas.
Argentina’s team selection for the World Cup had already come under criticism since Gonzalo Higuain, who has missed decisive chances for the Albiceleste was picked over Inter Striker Mauro Icardi.
For former Argentina player Osvaldo Ardiles, the Argentina team for the World Cup was just ‘Messi and 10 others’. Osvaldo, a World Cup winner with Argentina was fairly critical of Sampaoli’s team selection for the tournament.
“I’m not very happy with the players Sampaoli has chosen. For example, Icardi has to be there.”
For Osvaldo, choosing a team for the World Cup should have been the easiest task.
"Now comes the most difficult part which is to play the world cup and the easiest: to get the team. And there doesn’t appear to be a team. It’s Messi and 10 more. I’m an optimist but I am pessimistic regarding the national team right now.”
There had been suggestions in the past that the older Argentine players should have made way for new talents. Osvaldo felt that some among the older generation were past their prime and psychologically were not hungry enough for success.
“Mascherano used to play in Barcelona and now he’s in China. there’s a big difference. It’s been months that he hasn’t had top level competition and that is felt. I would have went with fresher players, with kids that are hungrier for success, like Icardi. I’d have given importance to Dybala… and of course Messi.”
Argentina’s fate will rest squarely on Messi’s shoulder at Russia World Cup but time and time again it has been shown that when Messi has not fired in all cylinders, Argentina have failed to get the desired result and over time Messi was left completely alone on his own. Can Sampaoli turn things around at this World Cup and help Messi out?