Argentina in complete meltdown: Sampaoli set to be sacked & 7 retirements incoming

Lionel Messi Argentina World Cup

Argentina 0 – Croatia 3

Argentina’s World Cup hopes are all but over after one of the most humiliating defeats in their history.

The meltdown is fully underway for Argentina as one of their greatest squads in (in terms of attacking quality) gets set for a major break-up.

The writing is on the wall and Croatia deserve credit for taking advantage but the ensuing days after Argentina’s loss will be fascinating.

Croatia were outstanding in the 3-0 win. The European side played like a team and in Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic have two midfielders that would grace any side at Russia 2018.

As Croatia march on, Argentina are in crisis and all eyes will be on Nigeria against Iceland on Friday as a draw could well turn the mood around.

Willy Caballero Argentina World Cup

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, RUSSIA – JUNE 21: Wilfredo Caballero of Argentina holds his head in his hands as he stands dejected after his mistake leads to a Croatia goal scored by Ante Rebic (not pictured) during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Argentina and Croatia at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on June 21, 2018 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Will Jorge Sampaoli make it to Argentina vs Nigeria?

Argentina’s final group game at the World Cup is against Nigeria on Tuesday.

In the aftermath of the defeat to Croatia, Jorge Sampaoli was pretty frank in his assessment of the defeat.

Sampaoli told the post-match press conference: “I am the one who needs to make the final decision on these things but the key to our defeat relates to my responsibility. I am the coach and I had to devise a plan for this match. Had I set things up differently, it might have turned out much better. I don’t think it’s realistic to put the burden on Caballero. I probably didn’t understand the match as I should have.”

“Emotionally broken”

The Argentina manager added: “after they scored, we kind of lost our way and we were emotionally broken. We didn’t have any footballing arguments to change the course of events. In the World Cup you need to take risks and we simply weren’t successful. Their second goal was almost a finishing touch. Then we were in one of those situations where our morale doesn’t allow us to move forward. We couldn’t find a way out.”

There are now strong rumours that Sampaoli will be fired, perhaps in the coming hours.

According to reports in Argentina, the players held a meeting after the Croatia defeat and requested that Sampaoli not take charge of the Nigeria game.

Leo Messi and co. want Jorge Burruchaga to take charge of the Nigeria match. Already, there is talk of a coup in the Argentina camp similar to what France went through in the 2010 World Cup.

If Sampaoli is fired, it could cost the Argentina FA 20 million dollars to sack the former Sevilla boss, which could make this decision by the players rather difficult to implement.

Lionel Messi Argentina World Cup

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, RUSSIA – JUNE 21: Lionel Messi of Argentina reacts during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Argentina and Croatia at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on June 21, 2018 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Sergio Aguero’s public reaction suggests Sampaoli is done for

Certainly, Jorge Sampaoli’s post-match comments suggest all is not well in the Argentina camp.

Not to mention, Leo Messi’s strained look during the national anthems ahead of the Croatia match and the ensuing horror performance.

This feeling has been added to by Sergio Aguero, who when asked about Sampaoli’s press conference comments in the Mixed Zone, simply said: “Let him say what he wants.”

For Aguero it was a disastrous night as the Manchester City striker barely touched the ball and when he did, missed a big chance at 0-0 prior to Willy Caballero’s mistake.

7 retirements for Argentina incoming

Whether Argentina make it through to the knockout stages or not, it seems that the dissatisfaction in the camp is going to be met with a complete clean-up whenever the World Cup ends for the South American side.

There are already rumours that at least seven players will retire after the Nigeria game, should Argentina go out.

They include Marcos Rojo, Ever Banega, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Javier Mascherano, Gonzalo Higuain and Leo Messi.

In fairness, Leo Messi has already retired from international football once and if he went again, could anyone really blame him?

You also have to wonder how Willy Caballero can come back from the awful Croatia opener scored by Ante Rebic.

These are sad times for Argentina. Their football team, which lest we forget reached three finals in a row, is now a complete mess.

Related: Golden Boot betting guide: World Cup 2018 top goalscorer odds.