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Argentina part ways with Jorge Sampaoli after World Cup disappointment

Jorge Sampaoli has come in for severe criticism
Image: Jorge Sampaoli has agreed to terminate his contract with Argentina

Jorge Sampaoli has stepped down as Argentina head coach following their disappointing World Cup campaign.

Sampaoli took over a year ago charged with putting together a side to first reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia and then mount a challenge for the trophy.

Argentina, thanks largely to the brilliance of Lionel Messi, qualified for the tournament with a win in their last match.

However, they scraped out of their group thanks to a late Marcos Rojo winner in their final match against Nigeria, and were beaten 4-3 by eventual winners France in the last 16.

Kylian Mbappe's pace caused problems for Argentina and a spectacular sprint won an early penalty
Image: Argentina were eliminated by eventual winners France

"The Argentine Football Association [AFA] and the ex-coach of the national team Jorge Sampaoli today reached a mutual agreement to rescind his contract," the AFA said in a statement on Sunday.

The AFA thanked 58-year-old Sampaoli and his assistants, who have also left their positions, for their services.

The decision means that Argentina, world champions in 1978 and 1986, are looking for their fourth coach in four years.

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The split with Sampaoli, who led Chile to the Copa America title in 2015 with victory over Argentina in the final, was expected even though he had a contract until 2022.

Jorge Sampaoli speaks to Lionel Messi
Image: Sampaoli struggled to get the best out of Lionel Messi

He inherited an ageing squad under a chaotic soccer federation and never looked like putting his stamp on a side that was inconsistent for most of his tenure.

It means Argentina - who have had three different coaches since Alejandro Sabella led them to the World Cup final in 2014 - are back to square one in their search for a first major international title since winning the Copa America in 1993.

Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino, Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone and River Plate's Marcelo Gallardo are among the coaches mentioned by local media as possible replacements.

Another two Argentines, Jose Pekerman, who managed Colombia in Russia, and Ricardo Gareca, who took Peru to their first World Cup in 36 years, have also been tipped as possible candidates along with Jorge Almiron of Atletico Nacional and Matias Almeyda, who recently stood down at Mexican club Chivas.

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