Argentina linked with Diego Simeone and Jorge Sampaoli after sacking Edgardo Bauza

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 11 April 2017, 10:24

Argentina have axed manager Edgardo Bauza after just eight matches at the helm in a bid to avoid missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1970.

Argentina may be priced at 8/1 to win the 2018 World Cup, but there is a real possibly that the two-time winners won’t even make next year’s showpiece spectacle following a poor South American qualification campaign, which leaves La Albiceleste down in 5th, one point adrift of the prized top-4 with four games to go.

Only the top-4 automatically qualify through to Russia next summer while the team that finishes in 5th spot faces a country from the Oceanian section. But, even 5th isn't assured for Argentina who have Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay hot on their heels.

Bauza was appointed back in August, but a disappointing return of three wins from eight games, which includes a recent 2-0 defeat in Bolivia, has forced Argentina to make a change as they bid to record a top-4 finish, with the country’s Football Association president Cladio Tapia saying:

"The national team is playing badly and everyone knows it."

The likes of Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone and Sevilla’s Jorge Sampaoli have both been linked with managing their country, yet it’s difficult to see either of those bosses leaving their respective clubs. Although a summer switch could be an option.

Whoever comes in needs to get Argentina firing up front.

Argentina may have some of the most feared attacking players in internationally football - think Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria - yet they’ve only netted 15 goals in 14 qualification games: only Paraguay and Bolivia have scored fewer.

Up next for Argentina is a friendly against fierce rivals Brazil, which is followed by their final four crunch qualifying games against Uruguay, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador

Argentina’s Remaining Qualification Matches

  • Uruguay (a)
  • Venezuela (h)
  • Peru (h)
  • Ecuador (a)
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