César Luis Menotti, the fabled coach who led Argentina to victory in the 1978 World Cup, labelled the Albiceleste as “shocking” following a 1-1 draw with Venezuela in Buenos Aires. The result leaves Jorge Sampaoli’s side in danger of missing out on qualification for the Russia World Cup next summer.
Menotti: Argentina 'shocking'
“It was shocking to be honest, to watch all that was shocking,” said Menotti to Fox Sports on Wednesday, “I played twice against Venezuela. In Caracas we won 0-7 and in Rosario we won 11-0. 18 goals in two matches. And now I have to watch us struggle to beat Venezuela.”
The 78-year-old, nicknamed ‘El Flaco’ on account of his wiry frame, continued that “football is like the tango, you can’t be going around running all the time. Football has pauses, acceleration, rhythm, and changes. Argentine played at a breakneck speed and that is the footballer’s worst enemy.”
The former Barcelona, Boca Juniors, and River Plate coach also criticised the Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli.
“Managing Sevilla and Argentina aren’t the same thing. Above all, if you have Messi. They put drones on him, they chat, they put 14 people to work on him, and when he picks up the ball he runs forwards and sees if he can dribble through everyone, it’s very difficult,” he concluded.
Argentina face crucial matches against Peru and Ecuador
Argentina laboured to a goal-less draw against Uruguay on Thursday, and drew 1-1 with Venezuela at El Monumental on Tuesday. With two World Cup qualifiers remaining, Argentina are in fifth place with 24 points, behind Brazil (already qualified with 37 points), Uruguay (27), Colombia (26), and Peru (24). As things stand, Argentina would face a play-off against New Zealand to qualify for the World Cup in Russia next summer. Yet things could change, for better or worse, after they host Peru on October 5, and visit Ecuador on October 10.