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18th Jun 2018

Diego Maradona has a warning for Jorge Sampaoli after Argentina’s draw with Iceland

Tell us what you really think, Diego...

Simon Lloyd

Argentina had to settle for a draw in their opening World Cup game with Iceland

The 2014 beaten finalists – two time winners of the competition – took the lead in Moscow through Sergio Aguero, only to concede an equaliser to Alfred Finnbogason four minutes later.

Lionel Messi had the chance to win the game from the penalty spot in the second half, only for his shot to be saved by Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson.

Argentina legend Diego Maradona was in attendance to watch the game, and later made it known that he was far from impressed with what he’d seen at Spartak Stadium – especially a lack of preparation from Jorge Sampaoli’s team.

“If he carries on like this, Sampaoli can’t come back to Argentina,”  he told Venezuelan television, Telesur.

“It is appalling not to have a single prepared move. Knowing that all the Icelandic players are 6’3″, we looked for headers at all the corners. We didn’t do a single short one.”

Maradona refused to blame Argentina’s players for the result, singling out how Messi had given it his all despite a disappointing individual display.

Instead, he placed the blame for the result at the feet of Sampaoli, who was in charge of Chile during the last World Cup in Brazil.

“His game plan was a disgrace. I don’t blame the players. I blame a lack of preparation because there obviously hasn’t been any.”

Maradona helped Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, where he was also named as player of the tournament. He also managed the country during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where they were eventually beaten 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-finals.

Argentina will now turn their attentions to beating Croatia in Novograd on Thursday. Their final group game comes in St. Petersburg the following Tuesday, when they face Nigeria.