Managers have come and gone for Argentina; indeed, Argentina are on their 3rd manager this campaign alone. Many have been shadows behind all-star talent, but Jorge SAMPAOLI is by no means a shadow. He brings credibility to a position that grossly needed a strong personality that instills confidence in a somewhat broken team, credibility earned from his stings with Peruvian & Chilean clubs and, of course, the Chilean national team. In contrast, having lost in the finals of three tournaments in a row, Argentina’s fans can be forgiven if they believe to be cursed. Managers have failed tactically, whether in formations or in substitutions, in Argentina’s history, from failing to play MESSI in 2006 to LAVEZZI’s early substitution off the pitch in the World Cup final of 2014. But finally it appears that Argentina have their man – a strong tactician who commands the respect of even the most elite stars in the world.
The history of Jorge SAMPAOLI
SAMPAOLI was a defensive midfielder, but an early injury in his career sidelined him and forced him into management. He plied his trade in Peru, with mixed success early on, but an impressive run at Coronel Bolognesi, where the team made its first international tournament under his guidance. Later in his career, he coached O’Higgins in Chile, leading them to a 3rd place finish. His real club success, however, came at Universidad de Chile, one of the biggest clubs in Chile if not the biggest, where he won 3 league titles and a Copa Sudamericana. Soon after, with his success and Chile seeking to turn around its national side, he took the job as manager for Chile. Having already played BIELSA’s style, the not dissimilar SAMPAOLI brought new energy and confidence to the team’s play, and he eventually led them to break our collective hearts in the 2015 Copa America. Soon after SAMPAOLI resigned and took a job with Sevilla, where he managed for one season before famously (or infamously in the minds of many Sevilla fans) took on the position as Argnetina’s manager because he felt it was duty to come when his nation called.
There is no doubt that SAMPAOLI has credibility and respect where it was lacking in the past with the national team players and his success brings an air of confidence that was missing from the team. But only time will tell if he can solve the puzzles our national team brings. We have an abundance of talent in the front, a mixed bag in the middle, and little to speak of at the back. SAMPAOLI must bring the best out in his new attacking trio of MESSI, DYBALA, and ICARDI while balancing the team to ensure there is enough service for his trio of superstars from the midfield and enough protection for a makeshift and often times worrisome back line.
He surely understands his task, and his credibility will be key to convincing the team that his system and their effort in tracking back is key to the team’s success. Only time will tell if he is our savior, or another body to add to the pile of coaching victims created by our befuddling team.
The above was written by George Thomas of Mundo Albiceleste.