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Lose to Eagles and go on exile, Maradona tells Argentina coach

BY GEORGE ALUO in Russia

Argentina legend, Diego Maradona is not happy with the 1-1 draw Argentina played out with Iceland in their Russia 2018 World Cup opener and he is not hiding it.

The man who coached the Argies to reach the quarterfinals in South Africa 2010 said yesterday that team handler, Jorge Sampaoli should not return home if his wards lose to Nigeria and Croatia and crash out of the tournament in round one.

In his words: ” Playing like that (the way they did against Iceland) he (Sampaoli) can’t come back to Argentina.”

Continuing the 1986 World Cup winner said :”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.”

Argentina in the game against Iceland took the lead through Sergio Aguero in the 19th minute only for Iceland to fight back and leveled scores four minutes later courtesy of Alfred Finnbogason’s strike.

The cigar-puffing Maradona who looked on from the stands of the Spartak Stadium stressed in an interview he granted a Venezuelan TV station that Sampaoli must change tactics as he confronts Croatia Thursday before the final group game against Nigeria.

It would be noted that Messi, whose performances in World Cups are arguably the only blot on an other-worldly career, spurned a chance to take the lead for Argentina 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,”Maradona insisted.

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