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Shadowed by the Hand of God

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Jorge Sampaoli's Argentina tenure spluttering to an inevitable conclusion

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop recaps France's thrilling 4-3 win over Argentina and thinks major changes are needed for the South American side.
ESPN's Dalton Cara captures the emotions of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, whose World Cup dreams ended on the same day.
The FC panel put Argentina's World Cup exit into context and how it affects Lionel Messi's claim to be the greatest player of all time.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop thinks Lionel Messi will walk away from Argentina after their 4-3 World Cup defeat to France.

Jorge Sampaoli arrived a year ago as Argentina manager, but he could never get his team to jell. If his time as Albiceleste boss is over, it will be a conclusion that saw him confused, lacking authority and alienated from his players.

Argentina's elimination in the round of 16 at the hands of France spells the end for many of the side's players. The same could also be said for Sampaoli himself.

A little over a year ago, the Casilda native was introduced as Argentina manager. The announcement sprung...

 By Tim Vickery

Argentina at a crossroads after World Cup demise as post-Lionel Messi era looms

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop recaps France's thrilling 4-3 win over Argentina and thinks major changes are needed for the South American side.
The FC panel put Argentina's World Cup exit into context and how it affects Lionel Messi's claim to be the greatest player of all time.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop thinks Lionel Messi will walk away from Argentina after their 4-3 World Cup defeat to France.
ESPN's Dalton Cara captures the emotions of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, whose World Cup dreams ended on the same day.
The guys respond to your tweets about Brazil-Mexico, Simeone for Argentina, Uruguay's World Cup chances and Mbappe's performance against Cavani's.

For two reasons, Jorge Sampaoli was a strange choice to take over as Argentina coach a year ago.

The first one has been made all too clear by results over the past few months, and especially the past two weeks. There is a glaring incompatibility between his basic idea and the resources available to him. Sampaoli has always favoured a furious high press, squeezing the opponents in their half of the field, creating two-against-one situations down the flanks, throwing men forward. It is a bold approach,...

Should Lionel Messi's failure to win a World Cup affect his GOAT claim?

The FC panel put Argentina's World Cup exit into context and how it affects Lionel Messi's claim to be the greatest player of all time.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop thinks Lionel Messi will walk away from Argentina after their 4-3 World Cup defeat to France.

MOSCOW -- Is this the last we'll see of Lionel Messi on football's biggest stage, the World Cup? Argentina are out, and with them go a seemingly demoralized, I'd-rather-be-anywhere-than-Russia Lionel Messi. True, he did what he could in the round of 16 with two assists, including a beauty that lead to Kun Aguero's goal. But it wasn't enough. Not even close. 

And so the countdown begins. Lionel Messi will be 35 years and 208 days old on Dec. 18, 2022, the day he theoretically gets his next crack...

By the numbers: Messi and Ronaldo's knockout ducks; Kylian Mbappe emulates Pele

France's Kylian Mbappe outshone Lionel Messi in the round of 16 as France beat Argentina 4-3 in episode 18 of Project Russia.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop thinks Lionel Messi will walk away from Argentina after their 4-3 World Cup defeat to France.

Messi and Argentina out. Ronaldo and Portugal out. Who's next? Here are the most notable numbers from the first day of the knockout games.


0

Lionel Messi is yet to score from eight knockout games in World Cup history. Interestingly, his 23 shots in these matches without scoring are the second highest since 1966, behind Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos, who had 29. He did register his fifth World Cup assist in the match, though, thus becoming only the third player alongside Thomas Muller and...

 By Sam Kelly

Lionel Messi 6/10, Marcos Rojo 4/10 as Argentina bow out to France

Kylian Mbappe scored twice as France sent Lionel Messi and his Argentina side out of the World Cup in an enthralling match.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop thinks Lionel Messi will walk away from Argentina after their 4-3 World Cup defeat to France.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop recaps France's thrilling 4-3 win over Argentina and thinks major changes are needed for the South American side.

Argentina exited the World Cup in a thrilling start to the knockout stage in Kazan, in a match in which both defences looked vulnerable but only Argentina's was seriously tested. For one of the oldest squads at Russia 2018, a rebuilding project is surely not far away, with another disappointing display from 2014's runners-up underlining the scale of the task at hand.

Positives

They've been put out of their suffering.

Negatives

A chaotic tactical setup which leaves serious question marks over Jorge...

 By Chris Wright

Diego Maradona watches as Argentina crash out of the World Cup

After an eventful evening watching Argentina squeeze past Nigeria in the group stage, Diego Maradona was back in the centre of attention as his beloved Argentina met France in the World Cup's Round of 16 on Saturday.

Sure enough, Maradona arrived into the Kazan Arena with customary understatement, greeting his adoring public with a beaming smile and arms open wide.

Happy Diego.

Before kickoff, the 57-year-old was presented with a gift by Rustam Minnikhanov, president of the Tatarstan region, although Maradona's...