Jorge Sampaoli is the new coach of Argentina after the Argentinian FA confirmed the 57-year-old’s appointment on Thursday. He succeeds Edgardo Bauza, who was relieved of his duties with La Albiceleste back in early April.
In early 2016, Sampaoli shared his desire to coach his country’s national team one day in an interview with FIFA.com. “Like any other Argentinean coaching a team anywhere in the world, if you are called to lead the national team, you cannot say no.”
Sampaoli returns home after spending one season in charge of Sevilla, where he led the Spanish club to the Round of 16 of this season’s UEFA Champions League. Before his brief stint in Europe, he had a successful spell as coach of Chile. He guided them to the last 16 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ before leading La Roja to their first major honour when they claimed Copa America title on home soil in 2015.
He will be tasked with turning Argentina’s World Cup qualifying campaign around, with La Albiceleste sitting in fifth place in the South American zone standings, one point outside the automatic qualifying spots for Russia 2018. Argentina’s next qualifier is away to neighbours Uruguay on 31 August.
Before those next round of qualifiers, Sampaoli will make his debut as Argentina coach in a friendly versus arch-rivals Brazil in Australia on 9 June.