Jorge Sampaoli claims that he is surprised by the collapse of Argentina in a friendly game against Nigeria. Despite having a 2-0 lead in the game, Argentina witnessed a stunning comeback from Nigeria that resulted in the game finishing as a 4-2 defeat for the South Americans. It was a disappointing into the preparations for the World Cup 2018, and Argentina will be going into the World Cup 2018 in Russia with a lot of doubt in their mind. First and foremost is the inability to qualify comfortably for the competition, as the national team could only finish in the third position.
For long periods of the World Cup qualification campaign from South America, it looked like Argentina would miss out on the path to the World Cup. The national team had been logged in the fifth place, which meant a play-off, for much of the campaign. Yet, they managed to finish in the third place only because of teams like Columbia and Peru not being capable enough of taking advantage. The victory over Ecuador in the final qualification game sealed progress into the World Cup. Sampaoli has not been able to see a convincing performance from Argentina in recent months. After having narrowly beaten Russia in a friendly match, the national team would not have wished for such a shock loss.
"It was a very difficult game to explain. In the first half we could have been three or four nil ahead, but ended up at 2-1. Then in the second half, in just nine minutes with three long shots, they scored three goals. After this, the momentum was in favour of Nigeria. We did not have the energy of the first half and Nigeria's lead could have been extended further," said the manager, who was without Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi for this game.