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Maradona defends Messi after penalty miss and slams ‘appalling’ Sampaoli

Diego Maradona has leapt to Lionel Messi’s defence after he missed a penalty during Argentina’s draw with Iceland in the World Cup.

Messi has been criticised for his performance and his inability to convert the spot-kick, but Maradona said he should not be blamed for the result.

“I missed five penalties in a row and I was still Diego Armando Maradona,” he said.

”The game and the two points lost by the team are not down to his penalty.

”He showed his face and gave everything he had to give. The ‘kid’ did his duty.

”Seeing him on the field, he was pretty pissed off. Just like I would have been. It was all him, he always had to shrug two players off and when he did, there was no pass open.”

Source | Telesur (via Goal)

Maradona then turned his attention to coach Jorge Sampaoli and did not hold back in his criticism of the 58-year-old.

“If he carries on like this, Sampaoli can’t come back to Argentina,” he added.

”It is appalling not to have a single prepared move. Knowing that all the Icelandic players are 6’3” we looked for headers at all the corners. We didn’t do a single short one.

”His game plan was a disgrace. I don’t blame the players. I blame a lack of preparation because there obviously hasn’t been any.”

The result leaves Argentina behind leaders Croatia in D with the two sides set to met on Thursday.

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