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World Cup 2018: 5 issues Argentina needs to fix for glory in Russia

Omene Osuya
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
24.93K   //    17 Jun 2018, 16:30 IST

Argentina v Iceland : Group D - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Sampaoli has a lot of work to do

Before the World Cup started, there were a lot of doubts about the Albiceleste side, the game against Iceland has only increased these doubts.

For a nation with a history as storied as the Argentine's, the 23 man squad chosen by manager Jorge Sampaoli to prosecute the World Cup campaign was disgracefully short of quality and it is showing.

Against a rugged and well organized Icelandic team, Argentina came across as dull, uninspiring and totally lacking in ideas, effort or even basic skill.

Lionel Messi had one of his worst games for his nation, aside from his penalty miss, his passing, free-kick taking and decision making was abysmal.

Interestingly he was still one of the better players on the pitch, as a lot of his teammates were worse than he was (take a bow Angel di Maria, Marcos Rojo, Willy Caballero).

Coach Jorge Sampaoli has much to ponder and will need to make large-scale changes if this team is to do anything of note in Russia. Here are 5 of those changes he may need to effect.


#5 Change the midfield setup

Argentina v Iceland: Group D - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Biglia has no business starting for a team like Argentina

Only Sampaoli can explain why in a game against a team that was always going to be compact and organized, he needed to start both Javier Mascherano and Lucas Biglia.

Mascherano has been a fantastic servant for Albiceleste, unfortunately, his legs are gone (hence his move to China). Biglia was an even more absurd choice, as the AC Milan player has lost the passing and ball carrying ability of his younger days and is now a glorified defensive midfielder.

This meant that Messi had to drop deep into the midfield to pick up and distribute the ball, a tactic which suited the Icelandic defensive deep block perfectly, as it meant he was farther away from goal and unable to threaten.

Ever Banega is the only player in the squad with the ball carrying abilities and passing range needed to initiate attacks, and it was until the 54th minute before he was introduced.

Against a Croatian side with a midfield far superior to theirs, Banega has to start as he is the only player in the team that is of a similar quality to the Croatian midfield comprising of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mateo Kovacic.

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Omene Osuya
ANALYST
Well, I love football (a look at my body of work tells a better story). However, I also love other sports and from time to time, pen articles concerning basketball, tennis, boxing, and e-sports. I follow these sports as much as I can, this explains why I write on a lot of different topics ranging from analysis and tactics to transfers and a whole lot more (reviews, previews and everything in between). Real Madrid is the team closest to my heart (same goes for Rafa Nadal, Raul Gonzalez, Mike Tyson, Mortal Kombat and the San Antonio Spurs).
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