Argentina’s disappointing quarter-final exit from the 2011 Copa America on home soil has left many wondering what the future is for Albiceleste boss Sergio Batista.
However, they struggled when it mattered in the Copa, winning just one of their four matches. That win was a comfortable 3-0 triumph against an under-strength Costa Rica.
Argentina failed to convince observers, much like they did at the 2010 World Cup under Diego Maradona. The coach struggled to get the best out of Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi then, and excluding the Costa Rica game, the same happened at the Copa.
In fact, Argentina’s plethora of attacking talent in Messi, Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Carlos Tevez really failed to co-ordinate and fire. Only Sergio Aguero was able to find the net regularly, with three strikes.
The midfield didn’t function either with no natural link-up into attack, with there appearing to be too many defensive-minded players, to compliment Argentina’s natural attacking talent.
However, Sergio Batista insists he’ll stay on and find the solutions to his side’s major flaws.
“I signed my contract just two months ago and I am not thinking about [resignation] at all. It has not even entered my head,” the coach told reporters in Sunday’s press conference.
“The elimination hurts, but we must continue our project. The most important thing is the World Cup.”
There’s no doubt the 2014 World Cup is the most important thing and considering it’ll be held in South America, Argentina must be feeling this is a good chance to lift the trophy for the first time since Maradona in 1986.
However, the team isn’t functioning at this stage under Batista and that’s the concern. It’s got all the talent but not the organisation or system.
“We have to continue working to get better,” Batista said after bowing out on penalties to Uruguay.
As for solutions to his side’s problems or finding a system to suit the world’s best player, Batista seems short on ideas.
“Lionel had a very good game. I always like how he plays,” Batista said after the Uruguay defeat. “In the second half, he was down as was the entire team.”
Perhaps Messi was down, but he wasn’t helped by a system which let him down. He toiled hard in the first half, but Argentina’s organisation didn’t compliment him.
Ultimately, Argentina’s failure to squeeze the best out of their talent in the Copa is where it all went wrong and that’s plain for anyone to see. This side were so underwhelming and disappointing that Batista’s conclusion on the tournament highlight the team’s very problem.
“I would not call it a failure. We did everything possible to win the Copa. The word failure is very strong, and I don’t think it has been a failure,” Batista said.
If he can’t see the team is a failure, he won’t be able to see how to fix the team’s problems.