Hristo STOICHKOV: Argentina “did everything to lose” at FIFA World Cup

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Hristo Stoichkov Barcelona
Hristo Stoichkov while playing for FC Barcelona.

Hristo STOICHKOV commented on the Argentina national team as well as Lionel MESSI while speaking to TyC Sports.

The 1994 Ballon d’Or winner didn’t hold back when talking about the Albiceleste. Here’s what he had to say:

“The team only depended on MESSI. This national team went from worse to worse. There were great players but without commitment. As if they didn’t know that this was their last chance.”

STOICHKOV went on to defend MESSI saying:

“It’s not always MESSI’s fault. Argentina had everything to win and did everything to lose.

“No one helped MESSI, there was no blood. It’s easy to throw it all against MESSI, MASCHERANO or the goalkeeper. But SAMPAOLI was wrong on a few things, the federation as well.”

69 COMMENTS

  1. WE NEVER PLAYED AS TEAM ARGENTINA IN THIS WORLD CUP. WE PLAYED NIG AS ONE AND WE WON
    It is time to come together to help rebuild our team. please provide constructive criticism.
    Some are saying that only big club players can win world cup. this is entirely false. tell me which players in Spain,Germany not play in Big clubs.
    It will always come down to Team. Either you play as team and win or go home.

  2. No doubt the resident fool will appear at some point to gloat in his own childish fashion. Footballing sage indeed.

    As for luck Dammage most luck can be neutralized with astuteness on the pitch and preparation. Armani for instance was thrown in at the deep end. He should as the best keeper Argentina has been given the friendlies against Italy, Spain, Haiti to at least work some understanding with his defence.

    Meza was barely given much opportunity and like Pavon thrown in head first to sink or swim. Played out of position without a decent midfield he can rely on as at Independiente the coach ignored the synergy he had with Lo Celso who did not even manage a minute.

    And the coach and his tactics take a huge measure of blame. As for Messi being a flop in three finals. He did pretty well in the two Copa games and but for Higuain we would have a very different opinion of him now. He cannot help that other players seem overawed and pass to him continually when they should have the belief to take the initiative themselves and use him as a decoy or exploit the space he creates by just being there on the pitch.

    The AFA list of 60 players is pretty decent although Cardona and Robertone are missing. Cardona is an elegant left footed centre back. No express pace but reads the game well and uses it to make interceptions aplenty. Needs to be more physical though and he is just starting to master the art of tackling. Good passer especially of long range and excellent in the air.

    Our midfield spearheaded by Asascibar and Lo Celso will be more than adequate along with the other kids developing as they are to match any in the world. The issue lies with keepers and laterals. The cupboard is not very well stocked although Juan Musso has moved to Udinese he will have to outplay Scuffet for the number one spot for which Albano Bizzarri (Argentine veteran) held most of last season. He does have potential but all our young keepers have had it but none through lack of playing, genuine top class ability have made it. Damian Martinez for example. And now Axel Werner one appearance last season only for Atletico. This needs urgent addressing.

  3. Messi is arguably one of the Top 3 best players who ever played the game. There is no doubt about that, It was up to the coaches how to insert Messi in a Compatible team who should have been capable of playing well even if Messi is not available. None of that happened, Whenever we played without Messi we didn’t played well at all apart from 1 or 2 matches. Whenever Messi played, it obviously became Messidepencia. Any how its done deal.

    Was watching some random stuffs suddenly saw Maradona, What a beast he was, his assists were remarkable. Even Rabona assists, Bicycle kick assists, He was fearless. He was small build but was more powerful, Messi meanwhile is more sleek not build powerful but more fast. Its remarkable that we have Maradona and Messi both r Argentine’s, when will the next Argentine phenom arrive. Its like a cycle a once in a lifetime player, once in a decade only it will happen i guess May be after next 2 generations.

    • Well said my friend. If a super star is not utilized properly he becomes a burden for a team as every other player becomes to much dependent on him. Messi could have done better on those 3 finals we lost. When we complain that “he needs help” , I try to find the answer which player did it all by himself in modern football? Can you guys tell me which team lost even after scoring THREE goals in recent times? However, without messi I don’t know when we will again reach a final in WC. My only hope remains for COPA. I hope with the existing talent and a good coach we can manage to win COPA.

  4. Sometimes goals are luck
    France 2nd goal was a screamer and 9/10 times it would go flying over the bar
    We had luck with our 2nd goal too right?
    And 1st goal France never closed down di Maria

    So it works both ways

    People wanted Armani to play yet he didn’t make one save vs France and was responsible for 3rd goal

    Meza was selected as the best player in 6-1 loss to Spain

    Only a crap coach AND team can blow a 2-1 lead in 10 minutes to 2-4

    People on here as guilty as the AFA. Saying pick Meza pick Armani Pick Pavon

    Renember as bad as the AFA are, they are not on the pitch.

    • We blew in an exact same way with Nigeria before WC. So this was a known issue.
      Before WC 2010, we lost 6-1 against Bolivia too, and ended up lost 0-4 to Germany.
      What sad is Sampaoli looked like the worst coach since 1978. Maradona reached quarter final, Bielsa won Olympics, reached copa final too, …

    • Hi, I m from India, but a die-hard fan of Argentina right from D10S days. I love Messi just as much now
      I might not be as intelligent as you all when it comes to analyzing football, but this is what I think…maybe I am wrong, so please forgive me
      I really think that Argentina’s biggest weapon and pride is the cause for Argentina’s downfall, that is Lionel Messi
      The reason being Argentina is often caught between what Messi needs to succeed Vs what the other players are really capable of delivering. Messi is a gem with Barcelona because he has Iniesta, Xavi etc who support him brilliantly, but we don’t have similar players in Argentina. So we have to make things work with what we have. For that, we either need to minimize our dependency on Messi and/or develop players who are able to play with Messi like his Barcelona teammates do.

      Like you correctly pointed out, it is the responsibility of the coach and AFA to set things in order.

  5. One idiot here said that in Argentina all people are racists !!!
    somebody told him one stupid story and that means 44 million Argentines we are racists !!!

    God save some people from stupidness really.

    He said too power to France to England and to Belgium !!!

    probably the only books that he opened in his life is komik books.
    not about history.

    i advice to him open some books and see what England , France and Belgium did in Africa
    and to the black people there.

    AFTER WE CAN SPEAK IF IN ARGENTINA PEOPLE WE ARE RACISTS.

  6. -Fazio was horrible! Didn’t even slide to stop mbappe shot!
    -Meza other than acouple runs over the top he did nothing to concern the defense and how many minutes did he play compared to names like dybala, angel Correa, pastore, Lamela ?!
    -tagliafico was out of position too many times! Including the tying goal against France ! WTH was he trying to do on that play?! And nothing offensively! Not one time did he look like the “Argentinean jordi alba”

    Argentina history always equals killing games once in the lead… when up 2-1 with 30 minutes left a 4-4-2 should have been used along with Pavon coming out for biglia and Perez coming off for loCelso ; mascherano, biglia, loCelso and Banega in a defensive and compacted midfield with Dimaria tracking back and countering and Messi ready to counter as well… if we did this we would be playing tomorrow against Belgium

    • “And nothing offensively! Not one time did he look like the “Argentinean jordi alba””

      Did you really believe that fable?
      Tagliafico isn’t even a lateral of formation in the first place. Even though he has played for a long time here, he started as a CB and then move on the side because he was considered as too short for a CB.

    • About Fazio, we discussed here. He should have been done better.
      Tying goal was lucky. Actually, from that France got some confidence and momentum then scored another two in minutes.
      If not that lucky goal, and score 2-1, France won’t risk too much offensively because the third goal will kill them. We tried for the third goal but France got the lucky equalizer. These games can go either way.

    • Make no sense. He can go 10-0 coaching any team whatsoever, using the same tactics, and that doesn’t change a damn thing about his total incompetence to coach Argentina. Not a damn thing. Team did everything to lose like he said and this guy was in charge.

      • Agree with MDT. Unless Sampaoli comes out to explain his reasons for doing so, his decisions (selection, formation and substitutions – assuming these are still his) for Argentina will always be called into question and will always be used against him and the team’s performances. Inexplicable to me.

        • Agree, someone somehow has to come and tell us what went wrong. I am sure Tapia knows but he is keeping a lid on it for his benefits. I am sure too, most of the players and the coach know. So someone has to come out and say something.

  7. Argentina are not going to win shit if they are never going to develop great midfielders… Midfielders win games, period. All argentina do are just producing shiny world class strikers and nothing else, need classy midfielders.

  8. What sucks about this whole thing is it could’ve been avoided.
    The Argentina Preliminary Squad DID have the rights players.
    Players such as:
    – Pezzella
    – Pizarro
    – Paredes
    – Battaglia
    – Perroti
    – Martínez
    – Icardi

    But who did Sampaoli choose?
    – Salvio
    – Acuña
    – Biglia
    – Mascherano
    – Enzo Perez
    – Higuain
    – Meza

    He also didn’t call up players like
    – Dybala
    – Lo Celso
    – Fazio
    – Ansaldi
    (Wait, he did? Why didn’t they played then?)

    This whole situation could’ve been avoided and we would’ve taken the easy path that Croatia took.

    But it is what it is.
    Sucks that when you think about it, we should’ve been in the semi-finals right now.

    Messi, Aguero, Banega had NO support.
    No one bothered to mark the likes of Enzo, Salvio, Acuña because the other teams new they were of no threat whatsoever.
    Against France, Umtiti, Matuidi, Hernandez we’re marking Messi, and a 6’5” midfielder, Pogba, manmarking a 5’7” midfielder, Banega, who would win?

    This whole thing could’ve been avoided. That’s what sucks about the whole thing.

    • A wonderful post. If you look at the TyC sports article today was a list of 60 players that are up and coming, as well as some young veterans.
      The truth is with Messi we had a galactic star bigger than any before perhaps in history.
      We won a World Cup in 78 without one of these. The job was too big for the manager. He didn’t have clear ideas, and he could not manage to the level of the stars. It takes an excellent manager to bring out the best consistently out of excellent players. That’s why you don’t see any stiffs managing the big clubs like Barcelona Man U Man City Real and others.
      Sampa was not up to the task and was not comfortable managing big players, hence that is why you have guys like Meza starting rather than fitting in a Dybala.
      Some people are good at making a sandwich, some guys can prepare a 7 course meal. Sampa is the sandwich guy.

  9. The coaching situation must be cleared or we are losing time.
    If Sampaoli stays so be it.
    If he goes so be it.
    Just don’t lose any time make the decision stay or go.

    Positives if sampaoli stays
    -will not call up the old players for sure

    Negative
    -will probably make the same dumb decisions tactically

    Whoever the coach is must analyze the crop of players and build a system to their strengths and not force a system that doesn’t suit them on them.
    Please never ever go without a midfield anywhere.
    2006 italy great midfield.
    2010 spain great midfield
    2014 germany great midfield
    2018 France/Croatia/Belgium have great midfield only England no so much.
    Real Madrid/Barca/Bayern winners of champions league great midfield.
    80-90 % of winning teams have a great midfield.

      • Same here! then if he may call back the old players, plus if he is tactically inadept (and this is a skill thing not a form thing), what is the case for retaining him? Agree with views that the situation should be resolved asap. Perhaps the AFA is just hedging – they want to secure someone first before officially firing him… at least the AFA knows something… that no one wants this job!

    • Totally agree with you Ghostdeini about the lack of a decent midfield and has been the biggest frustration for me over the last 10 yrs with this group of players. We’ve played with a 3 man mid for so long which included a fucking double pivot system with no creativity or dynamasism. It’s the fundamental Reason we never won anything.

      It’s a pretty simple formula really. Great midfield = Success

  10. Race ”baiter?” You had an Argentina football announcer using racial slurs against African players the other day..I’m DONE supporting this team after knowing that blacks (women, children and men) were put to mass killings because of skin color..I will never support a team with this kind history with no form of apology to date from the people responsible, the same people who welcome N*zi defectors with open arms. My Colombian friends use to say stuff about Argentina but because of football I ignore it, not anymore!! I WILL NEVER SUPPORT ARGENTINA AGAIN..More power to France, Belgium and England, hopefully one of them win the world cup!! With such history Argentina football team and economy will forever be curse..Colombia Copa America 2019 Champions!

      • San Isidro: yeah exactly, I’m not looking for 8 paragraph nonsense anymore too. Folks who were saying things like: “why are you guys not happy with Sampa player selection? We brought the best players, but just because your fav. player didn’t make it, stop trolling, support the team, and Sampa will bring the cup home”. Now, I recall those comments, and I was one of a few crying out loud, please, we left best players out of the squad, we want to win the world cup, I know what players needed for this tournament, and I don’t care what Sampa or Messi and Co were thinking. Lots of politics played a huge part in player selection, and starting 11.

        We are the ones who were whining or as you call it “bitching” about coaching decisions from the get go, we are still here support Argentina with or without black players, with or without Messi, we are here hoping for the best, the old fart players leave and hopefully new generation, “Not Messi’s team” will be able to be champions.

        • For all that called the NT Messi’s team. Sampa included:
          All Love watching Messi play, most approve of his caliber, quality and vision, but anyone who calls/called The NT Messi’s team is dead wrong. this Team belongs to all albiceleste supporters around the globe, and is larger than any player. Calling it Messi’s team is counterproductive, For all fans that support Messi you just added more pressure on the little man, have you seen the immense pressure he was under in the WC? just let the guy play his part as any other player. this team is not any player’s team, Messi is just a player, like any other. Yes he is exceptional, but don’t hijack the team and make Messi the savior, or don’t say that if Messi leaves then WE are finished, Argentina will rise back up, like WE did before. You have seen it, when things go wrong, Even the little man can not make it right. We have to start the after Messi time, NOW.
          I think one of the best things that happened to us as a result of this early elimination/humilation is release the pressure that was built on our players, maybe we will learn for the future if Argentina is blessed with another exceptional player, not to make him believe that he is our savior.

    • you are completely idiot. do you know how many stories i know too about Colombia and how much
      no racist a lot of people are there? hahahaha.
      i am sure your Colombian “friends” will keep those things for them because they are not so proud about in their country 🙂 🙂 🙂

      ANYWAY i will not say anything more because i don t want people without brain support my national team
      and i don t care if you like my country or not.

      Goodbye then.

      Get out of here !!!

    • Come on, kid. We are gonna miss your posts here.
      The history of countries like France, England and even Belgium (Congo) is full of discrimination, massacres, slavery and racism. Even your own country killed millions of native Americans and continues to treat them badly.

  11. High defense is great!
    If you have fast defenders, midfielders and wingers who help defensively.

    3 man defense is great if you have fast defenders, 2 pit bull midfielders who run tirelessly in front of them and wingers who run up and down.

    Possession football is great if you have great on ball players, passers, and a lot of movement without the ball and a lot of pressing.

    Playing defensive football you must have a great goalkeeper and great defense because all the time you are under attack and must have great counter players.
    putting more defenders doesn’t equal better defense but you lose in attack and become unbalanced.

    etc,…

    The system is not the problem!
    We have won with 2 different philosophies the world cup.
    They had both something in common.
    team play!
    attacking, defensive, possession, counter, long ball,…teams have won championships but….
    they all have played to their strengths and style.
    we think copying barca, spain, italy, or whoever the next winner is is the thing to do.
    NO!
    We can take elements but we must play our style and to our strengths.
    any system you use you must use the suitable players to implement it!
    biglia cant play possession football and our 3 defenders are too slow to play high defense.
    our coaches forced to use certain players have got out of their skin and disgraced themselves.

    • And this where our dear Sampaoli has failed in my opinion – he i. can’t recognise we don’t have the right players or ii. don’t call up the right players to play or iii. don’t select the right players to start to play the system/formation. What was his strategy?! How can you even be a coach? What has he been doing?!

  12. Stoichkov did not address the real issue that goes well beyond Messi, the friends’ club, AFA, etc. Argentina is just too white of a team (notwithstanding of course all the mestizo players, but that is just an inconvenient fact). Until that changes, no World Cup glory for Argentina.

  13. Building a team around Messi is long too late, he is not 20 years anymore, if you build a team around him now, what the team will do when he is gone? Messi’s talent should be a surplus. He is the best, yes for sure, We should have prepared for the time after Messi 4 years ago. I don’t think the team should always help Messi, they should help each other, play as a team with or without him. Messi’s strongest aspect is creating space/opportunities for others and make them shine, not vice versa. I only see Messi as a playmaker in the future, but not the only playmaker. Dybala, Lo Celso and Lanzini – even Pastore – can act as our playmakers.
    I still don’t understand how Sampaoli lost the midfield battle with all the available talent.

    • he had a quarter of a billion dollars worth of players sitting on the bench and yet went With Pavon who I LOVE when others in that particular game would have done better and then came in with Meza, MEZA, why MEZA, ARE THEY RELATED???

        • I don’t know what could have happened after the France game, BUT that game was very winnable even with all the turmoil within the team. WAS he trying to throw the game away to avoid playing brazil?

          That is the question the AFA needs to ask him, why did you select the players you selected for the France game.

          • Agree, France game was very much winnable, his tactics were erratic and his substitution were puzzling. Uruguay shutdown Mbappe completely. Otamendi and Rojo could have done that easily if the defense fall back. he brought Fazio who is known for his tackles and height but not his speed. high defense line is very risky,specially when you have a weak goalkeeper and fast opponents. I wonder what was going on Sampa’s mind.
            Otamendi,Rojo,Mercado and tagliafico tackle very well face to face, but when put against super fast players they won’t keep up, so the best would have been to make them fall back. Sampaoli Egocentric stubborn maniac SOB. Even his behavior on the touch lines is irritating. These are major mistakes that can not be forgiven.

        • Was he trying to pissoff the players for allegedly ganging up on him? -> f him if it’s true and good riddance I’d say. No one screws with the Argentina football team and uses it a vehicle for their own personal agenda (I find it ridiculous saying this while the folks at AFA smirk. Damn.). Nevertheless, the nation’s dependence, future, hopes are intricately tied to the team’s fortune.

          Having said that, I did have that thought. I even postulated that he was under pressure to call up Dybala and he said fine but I’m not going to play him.

          I still think he owes us an explanation as to why he chose to play the false 9 and 2 winger formation against France. Did he really intend to outscore them? Coz there was no way Mbappe was going to sit back and mark ADM. Varane and Umitti were having a field day marking…… no one! Thinking about it makes me boil again…..

          • “No one screws with the Argentina football team and uses it a vehicle for their own personal agenda (I find it ridiculous saying this while the folks at AFA smirk. Damn.)”

            You hear that Tapia! pay us back the millions you made off the NT.

  14. A space monkey living on the surface of Pluto knows that and yet the AFA or whoever is in charge doesn’t!
    Sampoali needs to go NOW, get a PROPER, EXPERIENCED manager and nothing less OR will be back talking about this next year.