NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia (AP) — Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli says Lionel Messi “shouldn’t shoulder all the responsibility” for the team’s fate at the World Cup.
Messi missed a penalty in Argentina’s 1-1 draw against Iceland in the opening group match. That slip has piled the pressure on Argentina to win the second game against Croatia on Thursday. Croatia defeated Nigeria 2-0 in its opener.
Sampaoli says “when you score with the Argentina jersey, we all take credit for it. But when Argentina loses, it’s all Leo’s fault. I think that’s quite unfair treatment. It’s a lot of pressure for a single player to stand. I have to say I feel responsible for that missed penalty.”
Argentina has not won a major title since 1993. It lost the World Cup final four years ago against Germany, and subsequently lost two Copa America finals to Chile in 2015 and 2016.
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