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Argentina? Are they crazy?
I don't think I'm suited to become the world's greatest football manager but I kinda think if you were Argentina's manager you'd want to go forward all the time and hope your forwards could score more than the defence could concede.

Would you leave Mauro Icardi out of your squad entirely? He was top scorer in Italian football with 29 goals last season.

Dybala got 26, did he get on the field just once, even though he has a lot of skill and doesn't have to play out-and out striker?

Aguero got 26 in England and didn't play that much, that got him a few minutes here and there in Russia.

Higuain got 23, plays well with Dybala, did get a game and didn't shine.

Messi with his 45 goals in Spain, played where he wanted apparently, including as a false centre forward. But that didn't guarantee him good support or service.

Now I don't know whether the French could have handled it, but Argentina could have played Higuain up front with Dybala, Messi and Aguero coming in behind him, permanently switching the point of attack. (And Icardi would have been ready on the bench!) Banega and one of their choice of midfielders could have become an effective supply chain, Mascherano could have swept up in front of their vulnerable defence, who might as well have been reduced to three as they don't have four decent ones. And perhaps behind them they might have played their goalie who plays in Mexico, who the Mexicans apparently rate (and they've got a decent keeper!)

I apologise now. I just had to say this. I can't believe how a country could have this much talent and get so little of it on to the field. There's us thinking we've a chance because we've got Harry Kane. Argentina've got him times at least 4.5 ....... and they've gone out without ever threatening to do much else for more than a few minutes.
Lord Snooty and turkeydinner like this post
A 4-3 win for France and a great match all the same. Looks like some of the great players are finally 'arriving at the party'. Mbappe was superb and the Pog surprised me as I previously suggested he shouldn't be playing. Re Argentina, I expected them to lose mainly because of their poor form factor but agree their manager could've deployed a really positive, attack-minded side. I just don't think he has the capability to try and apply a 'total football concept' around these players you mention, and others - just 'break the mould' and change it!
Argentina were bang average and hoped Messi would do something wonderful throughout, I knew they`d lose when I saw him deployed as a false nine

Absolutely right Devongone those forwards are awesome and how could they not bring Icardi also!

However the rest of the team were very pedestrian, No Rufggeri, Pasarella or Samuel type leader just Rojo and Otamendi
No defensive workhouse ala Simeone and Alymeda
And playing Messi as a forward no great second striker or number ten ala Riquelme, Veron or Maradona
They went wrong focusing solely on getting the best of Messi rather than looking a putting together a solid team which worked. That obsession of trying to get the best out of Messi and replicating how he plays at Barcelona was detrimental because it meant not getting the best out of Aguero, Higuain, Di Maria, Pavon, and Meza.

Biglia - Banega
Messi - Dybala - Di Maria

The above is what I would have used in midfield and attack. Icardi would have been in the squad ahead of Salvio because they didn’t need so many right wingers in the squad.

They also needed to tell the fat cockwomble Maradona to stay at home because his presence in the stands put too much pressure on the players.
Also I believe the Argentina dressing room, Messi et al, effectively took over the running of the team from the manager, Jorge Sampaoli, during the quali period when Messi returned. Apparently that is why the likes of Icardi was not even considered for their 23 man squad - not the manager's call but that of the dressing room with players who were not gonna play for Sampaoli unless they 'played it their way' and he stopped trying to change their style of footie. I notice Mascherano immediately retired after this match and I'd bet a wad of money that he was part of the 'gang'! There will be others who will follow him and deservedly so!
Don't cry 4-3 Argentina
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In international football I reckon , unlike club football where you can bring in talent from outside, you've got the players the genepool has provided.

Even if you accidentally find you've become the manager despite being the secret love child of Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis, and you're presented with a nation currently full of forwards and midfielders backed by totally incompetent defenders, you'd still consider playing to your strengths. Even doing what they done Argentina got a good share of possession and scored three. What might they have done? (But they also went through a terrible qualification too without apparently learning anything either.)

How could you play Messi as a false centre forward in a country full of centre forwards leaving him no one to slip in a clever pass to ...... at which he is uniquely adept? I reckon only the man himself could have so little self-knowledge as to devise a tactical system that neutralised him from the kick-off. I reckon it was like one of those films where the lead actor turns out to be directing and producing too. First you think, how could he do all that? And very quickly you realise he couldn't do any of it. Then you find he adapted it himself from a short story no-one's heard of ......... and Jeez it's 3 hours 20 long.

When Messi retires keep him well clear of management, that's my theory.
I've been wondering, since I first heard it yesterday, what the chuffing hell is a false number 9?  Huh
Cesc Fabregas for Spain when beat Italy 4-0 was it Snoots.

But they didn't have a number nine worth a light .... or it was Torres on a bad run.

If your entire country is full of number nines it is even more weird than the idea of a false number nine itself. I don't see how it works, though it has. I reckon selecting three quick defenders and pushing up to the halfway line destroys the false centre forward unless they've got Adam Gemili on the wing.

The last bloke I'd choose as a false nine is one the best players in the world.
Lord Snooty likes this post
Remember Chelsea played a false nine under Conte`s title winning year Hazard I guess was the most forward

False Nine`s in the past have included Thomas Muller and Kenny Miller!

For me a "False Nine" is a Forward who runs himself into the ground and holds up play bringing others into the game so they can score, which is fine if your Midfield and wings are scoring goals, not a position I`d associate with Messi
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