The Argentine press ran front-page stories on Sunday, the day of the 2018 FIFA World Cup final, ripping Jorge Sampaoli as reports emerged that the Argentine Soccer Federation (AFA) and the national team coach had parted ways.
Sampaoli’s squad was eliminated in the round of 16 by France, which rolled to a 4-2 win on Sunday over Croatia in the World Cup final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, reported EFE news agency.
The front-page headline in La Nacion said “Sampaoli se rinde y ya no es mas el tecnico de la seleccion argentina” (Sampaoli Surrenders and Is No Longer the Argentine team’s coach).
The daily “Clarin,” ran a story, headlined “Solo falta la firma” (All That’s Missing Is the Signature), adding that the AFA agreed to pay Sampaoli $2 million to void his contract, with the deal expected to be inked on Monday.
The 58-year-old Sampaoli used 57 different players in a World Cup cycle of 15 matches, finishing with a record of 7-4-4.
In the World Cup, Croatia beat Argentina 3-0 in the group phase, while eventual champion France knocked off the South American squad 4-3 in the round of 16.
Argentine soccer fans had high expectations for their team heading into the World Cup.
Argentina’s roster was headlined by superstar FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who failed to score in the round of 16 against France and had just one goal in the tournament.
The sports daily Ole said Sampaoli’s departure ended “408 turbulent days” at the national team’s helm.
Several media outlets reported that the AFA wanted to move on from the Sampaoli era and shift the focus to finding a successor to lead the squad against Brazil in the 2019 Copa America.