Argentina fires coach Edgardo Bauza after recent qualifying struggles

Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina has fired its newly appointed national head coach Edgardo Bauza after just eight months in the job, as the team struggles in qualifying matches for next year’s World Cup in Russia.

The Argentine Football Association confirmed Monday that Bauza’s reign was over after just eight matches in charge.

"Bauza has been informed that he is no longer the coach of the national team," AFA President Claudio Tapia told reporters.

Bauza, 59, only started the job last August when Gerardo Martino departed after Argentina’s loss in the final of Copa America Centenario.

That defeat prompted captain Lionel Messi to announce he was quitting the national team, and although Bauza persuaded Messi to change his mind and target the 2018 World Cup, the team’s fortunes did not improve.

During Bauza’s brief stint, Argentina had three wins, three defeats and two draws, all in World Cup qualifiers.

World Cup champions twice before, and beaten finalists in 2014, Argentina are currently fifth in the South American qualifying standings with four matches left. The top four qualify automatically with the fifth team advancing to a playoff.

Making matters even harder for Argentina is that they will be without Messi for three of the remaining matches because the five-time World Player of the Year is serving a ban for insulting a linesman during a qualifier last month.

Tapia said a news conference would be held Tuesday to discuss the coaching position.

The next manager has not yet been named but local media have speculated that Argentina-born Jorge Sampaoli, the coach of Spanish club Sevilla, is a possible candidate.

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