Curious George

Argentina’s coach Jorge Sampaoli stands in front of fans holding a picture of Argentina’s forward Lionel Messi before a friendly football match between Spain and Argentina at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid on March 27, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Sampaoli is shaping up to be the biggest detriment to his team’s cause. By issuing scathing criticism of some of his most talented while propagating the myths of some of the more average, Sampaoli threatens to ruin whatever chances Argentina has of pulling a surprise. It harkens to the case of Belgium under Marc Wilmots in which they were severely hampered by the man at the helm. Sampaoli scarcely looks the same man that coached Chile to a 2015 Copa America triumph or to fourth place in La Liga the following season with Sevilla.

Ultimately, Argentina could hit a wall of France as soon as the second round should they slip up in their tricky group stage and either of Spain or Portugal in the quarter-final. Anything beyond is a bonus because, as much fans of the team and of its biggest stars may want to admit fully, they all underperform in an Argentina shirt.

From all the argie-bargie about team selections to the formation to tactics to who is truly the greatest player must come unity and cohesiveness if Argentina are to avoid a colossal embarrassment in a month’s time.