When he was appointed as Argentina manager on August 1, Edgardo Bauza said in a press conference that one of his primary tasks would be to convince Barcelona star striker Lionel Messi to rethink about his decision to quit international football.
This turned out to be one of the very few things that he managed in a stint of eight months with the national side. He was sacked on Tuesday morning by the two times World Cup winner. “We’ve told Bauza he’s ceased to be the national team coach,” announced Argentina FA.
Out of the eight games he coached in total, he managed to win three, draw two and lost the other three. Former Argentina player himself, the 59-year-old Bauza failed to build a team that does not rely only on Messi to attack and even failed to get the best out of their star player. In the race for 2018 World Cup, Argentina are placed fifth in the qualifying table for South American nations, 11 points behind leaders Brazil – who have already qualified. Ahead of them are Colombia, Uruguay and Chile.
The other factor that did not work for him was that he was not given enough time to train his team, with all eight games during his coaching stint being World Cup qualification matches.
Only the top four teams get direct qualification for the World Cup. The fifth placed team battles it out in a playoff. With four matches left to play, their next match is against third placed Uruguay.
Argentina lost the Copa America final to Chile in 2015 after which both Messi and the then coach Gerardo Martino resigned. Bauza was then hurriedly brought in by the AFA as his replacement.
The 2-0 loss to Bolivia is the last game he coached for Argentina. As if it wasn’t bad already, Messi earned himself a four-match ban after videos caught him insulting the assistant referee.