This generation of Argentina players looks like it will be forever remembered for a succession of bitter defeats. REUTERS/Matthew Childs
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Argentina almost failed to qualify for the World Cup in the first place.The team has been undermined by a broader crisis afflicting the Argentine game, tangled up with politics and a power struggle in the Argentine Football Association management that broke out in 2014 .Worse was to come as Messi abruptly announced his international retirement following a penalty shootout loss to Chile, Argentina's second Copa America final defeat in two years, citing frustration at the way the game was run in the country.Messi's future became practically an affair of state when Argentina's President Mauricio Macri called on him to stay.Jorge Sampaoli, with the blessing of Messi, pleaded for patience as he was drafted in as Argentina's third coach in two years.Messi's failure to match the achievements of Maradona, who single-handedly carried the team to victory in the 1986 World Cup, will otherwise never be forgotten.
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