Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli insists he’ll ‘come back stronger’ after La Albicelsete’s World Cup campaign came to an end following their 4-3 loss to France in the last 16.
In one of the games of the tournament so far, the two sides headed into half time level after Angel Di Maria’s thumping effort cancelled out Antoine Griezmann’s penalty, before an early goal in the second half from Gabriel Mercado put Argentina ahead.
1 – This is the first time in the history of football that #Argentina have lost a competitive match despite scoring 3+ goals (from 430 competitive games played overall). Shock. #WorldCup #ARG #FRA #FRAARG pic.twitter.com/8R9TYWI9HX
— OptaJavier (@OptaJavier) June 30, 2018
France rallied however as a stunning Benjamin Pavard effort and brace from Kylian Mbappe put the French back into the ascendancy, rendering Sergio Aguero’s late header little more than consolation.
It’s been a difficult tournament for Samapoli and Argentina, as questions of player unrest persisted throughout their time in Russia, yet speaking post-match, the 58-year-old believes he will learn from the experience.
As quoted by Sky Sports, he said: “I had many expectations and we wanted Argentina to go as far as possible in this World Cup. I always believed that Argentina could win, these frustrations will make me stronger, and this has allowed me to learn and to grow.
“The players have made a huge effort and it was a very difficult game. The players gave everything on the pitch but have not achieved our goal here in Russia. I’m sad and frustrated.”
Not since 2002 have Argentina failed to make it to at least the quarter finals at the World Cup, although despite Sampaoli’s struggles, not least trying to get the best out of Lionel Messi, he thanked his players for their efforts.
He continued, stating: “We had a clear need and that was that we had to win. We have the best player in the world and we had to try and create situations so we could use that player, who can have really brilliant moments.
“Sometimes we managed to do so, sometimes we didn’t. This team fought until the very last minute and nearly equalised at the end, and that’s what I really value. I want to say thank you to all those players for being here and for trying to go as far as possible.”