FIFA World Cup 2018: Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli promises ‘aggression’ against France

Argentina takes on France in the first round of 16 encounters in the FIFA World Cup 2018 at Kazan on Saturday.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli has promised an ‘aggressive’ brand of football against France on the eve of their Round of 16 clashes at the Kazan Arena here on Saturday. Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Sampaoli said, “Argentina will play an aggressive style of football. We are going to attack them all the time.” The former Sevilla manager added that his aim would be to prevent the game from turning physical, as it would put France at an advantage.

“The two teams are not the same. We want to be able to control the game throughout. We don’t want France to use their speed against us. If we don’t control the game, it will become very physical, which won’t suit our style,” he said. Speaking about his star player, Sampaoli remarked that he had plans to help Lionel Messi enjoy more freedom up front.

“I’m sure France have their plans to neutralize Messi but we have our own plans to make his life easier; so we will see who can execute their plans better. “France will have success to the extent that we are not accurate. They will try to get us to make mistakes. It will all be about how we handle different situations.”

The coach refused to divulge information about his starting line-up for Saturday’s game, saying he was yet to make his mind up about the same. Asked whether his side had practiced penalties in case the match headed beyond regulation time, Sampaoli replied, “I don’t think we can solve penalties just with a training session. There are so many factors involved when it comes to shootouts.

“We did spend some time with our goalkeepers looking at how others may shoot.”

Saying it would be ‘extremely difficult to accept defeat’ against France, the Argentine tactician stressed that he was not worried about his future with the team despite growing speculation that he would be removed from his position if La Albiceleste crashes out on Saturday.

“I have a contract and I am quite happy to be here,” he curtly responded to a query.