Argentina target Sampaoli to take over national team
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[April 28, 2017]
By Rex Gowar
BUENOS AIRES, April 28 (Reuters) - The
Argentine FA have identified Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli as their
choice to take charge of the national team and revitalise their 2018
World Cup qualifying campaign, AFA President Claudio Tapia said on
Argentina, runners-up to Germany at the last World Cup, are fifth in
South American qualifying with four matches to go.
Only the top four -- currently Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Chile
-- go through automatically while the fifth-placed team has to go
through an intercontinental playoff with a side from the Oceania
confederation for a berth in Russia in 2018.
Tapia, who sacked coach Edgardo Bauza after his election to the AFA
chair last month, told ESPN that Sampaoli was their man.
"Today I can confirm that Sampaoli is the only candidate," he said,
adding that the AFA would negotiate with Sevilla for Sampaoli's
release from his contract once the league season in Spain concludes
Sampaoli joined the Spanish club on a two year contract last June.
Tapia's comments confirm weeks of speculation about the appointment
of Sampaoli, who led Chile to the Copa America title in 2015.
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Argentina, who are a point behind Uruguay and Chile,
face a tough away trip to Montevideo for their next qualifier on
Aug. 31 and must play without captain Lionel Messi, who has been
suspended four games for insulting a match official.
Messi, who has already missed a 2-0 defeat away to
Bolivia, is also due to miss home games against Venezuela and Peru
but could return earlier if an appeal is successful.
Failing that, he would return to face Ecuador in the final group
Argentina also have friendlies lined up against Brazil, in
Melbourne, and Singapore on a June tour to prepare for the
qualifiers. (Additional reporting by Luis Ampuero, editing by Nick
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