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Argentina's World Cup mutiny has reportedly turned into a players' coup

In the wee hours of Friday morning, after their calamitous loss to Croatia, Argentina’s World Cup stars reportedly tried to engineer a mutiny. At the time, it appeared to have come to nothing. Manager Jorge Sampaoli was still in charge.

Twenty-four hours later, though, a full-on coup d’etat is reportedly underway.

TyC Sports, one of the most prominent – though not always accurate – TV outlets in Argentina, reported Saturday afternoon that Argentinean players are no longer following Sampaoli’s orders:

Argentina players had held meetings at their base camp hours after a disastrous 3-0 loss to Croatia and asked for Sampaoli’s immediate removal as manager, according to reports on Thursday nightTyC Sports had reported that the national team’s current general manager, Jorge Burruchaga, could take control of the team.

No official change has been made, but now TyC reports that the president of Argentina’s soccer federation, Claudio Tapia, is supporting the players in their attempt to wrest control of the team away from Sampaoli.


Other reports, however, suggested that Tapia, the coaching staff and players all met on Saturday and decided to band together, move forward, and focus on Tuesday’s pivotal game against Nigeria.

Sampaoli, who took over last year with Argentina struggling during World Cup qualifying, drew harsh criticism for his tactics in the 3-0 loss to Croatia. He switched formations – to a shape that didn’t suit Lionel Messi – and his personnel. The result was disastrous.

But Argentina is still a slight favorite to advance as the runner-up in Group D after Nigeria beat Iceland on Friday.

Coach Jorge Sampaoli during a training session of Argentina at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Bronnitsy, Russia, Saturday, June 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

 

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell, and on Facebook.

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