World Cup 2018: Diego Maradona Issues Stern Warning To Argentina Coach Jorge Sampaoli

Updated: 18 June 2018 16:29 IST

Diego Maradona warned Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli that he would not be welcomed back home unless he changes his tactics.

World Cup 2018: Diego Maradona Issues Stern Warning To Argentina Coach Jorge Sampaoli
Diego Maradona avoided criticising Lionel Messi and instead pointed the finger at Jorge Sampaoli. © AFP

Argentina legend Diego Maradona issued a scathing assessment on Sunday of his country's World Cup 2018 draw with Iceland, warning manager Jorge Sampaoli that he would not be welcomed back home unless he changes his tactics. "Playing like that, he can't come back to Argentina," the 1986 World Cup winner told Venezuelan television after Lionel Messi missed a penalty in the 1-1 Group D stalemate in Moscow. "It's a disgrace. Not having prepared for the match knowing that Iceland are all 1.90m tall... I get the feeling there's a general anger at the heart of the team," said Maradona, himself a former national team coach.

Argentina took the lead through Sergio Aguero in the 19th minute on Saturday as a cigar-puffing Maradona looked on from the stands of the Spartak Stadium.

But minnows Iceland, playing at their first ever finals, levelled four minutes later through Alfred Finnbogason.

Messi, whose performances in FIFA World Cups are arguably the only blot on an other-worldly career, spurned a chance to take the lead when his 63rd-minute spot kick was saved by Hannes Halldorsson.

But Maradona avoided criticising his heir apparent and instead pointed the finger at Sampaoli.

"I don't blame the players. I could blame the lack of work rate. But I can't blame the players, much less Messi, who gave it all he had," he said.

"I missed five penalties on the spin and I was still Diego Armando Maradona. I don't think that they dropped two points because Messi missed a penalty," added Maradona, who led Argentina to the quarter-finals in South Africa in 2010.

Argentina play Croatia in their next game in Saint Petersburg on June 21.

(With AFP Inputs)

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Topics : Argentina Iceland Croatia Lionel Messi Diego Maradona Hannes Halldorsson 2018 FIFA World Cup Argentina vs Croatia, Match 23 Football
Highlights
  • Maradona issued scathing assessment of Argentina's first match
  • Argentina were held to a 1-1 draw by Iceland
  • Lionel Messi missed a penalty in the match
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