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Time is not on Sampaoli's side

Former Argentina forward Hernan Crespo says he is not sure whether coach Jorge Sampaoli has enough time to impose his ideas on the national team as they prepare for this year's World Cup finals in Russia.

Crespo, 42, told Reuters that, with Sampaoli having only been in charge since June, he is still waiting to see whether they can adapt to the coach's whirlwind style.

Yet the team has struggled in the last two years, lurching through the South American World Cup qualifiers and only making sure of qualification by winning 3-1 in Ecuador at the end of their 18-match campaign.

They employed three coaches during the competition with Sampaoli taking over for the last four matches after Edgardo Bauza was dismissed in the wake of a 2-0 defeat in Bolivia.

Argentina's first three qualifiers under Sampaoli all ended in draws -- away to Uruguay and at home to Venezuela and Peru -- before the win in Ecuador.

Since then, they have beaten Russia 1-0 in a friendly but then lost 4-2 to Nigeria in a match which cruelly exposed Argentina's defensive failings.

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