Dubai: A pall of gloom descended on the 18-member Argentine kabaddi contingent who hit out against football coach Jorge Sampaoli after Lionel Messi and Co found themselves on the brink of World Cup group stage elimination following a shock defeat to Croatia.
Last night, Argentina succumbed to a 0-3 loss to Croatia who moved to the round of 16. It was their worst World Cup group stage defeat in 60 years as the the misery compounded with the great Diego Maradona watching their show from the stands.
Thousands kilometres away in Dubai for the Kabaddi Masters, the Argentine kabaddi team got together to cheer for the team last night but only to return heartbroken.
A team member hit out against the Argentine team manager Sampaoli for his flawed tactics of not "pressing high or attack relentlessly".
"He (Sampaoli) should be immediately sacked. His team selection is flawed," a player told PTI on condition of anonymity, referring to his move of dropping Di Angel Di Maria, Marcos Rojo and Lucas Biglia.
Sampaoli instead chose Acuna, Mercado and Enzo Peres in a desperate bid to revive their campaign after a 1-1 stalemate against Iceland in their World Cup opener.
"I stopped watching after sometime. It's really painful and what a disaster outing this has been," he said.
The World Cup 1978 and 1986 champions have not won any major title in 25 years and have also lost in the last two Copa America finals.
Goalkeeper Willy Caballero, who got a chance after their number one choice Sergio Romero injured his knee last month in the run-up to the tournament, was also a big letdown as it was a blunder by him that saw Argentina concede the first goal.
"We have to swallow the poison. There's nothing left to be discussed about the game. We have to stop watching them and keep our focus on kabaddi," Argentine 30-year-old raider Federico Gramajo said.
The Argentine kabaddi team, who will open their campaign against Iran on Saturday, however, said they would not be left disturbed by the football team's poor show in Russia.
"We are here for kabaddi. This is our second International tournament and we want to show the world that we are improving. We are looking forward to give Iran a big challenge," 39-year-old defender Daniel Castillo said.
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Updated Date: Jun 22, 2018 17:07:14 IST