x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Maradona urged to take time

Gabriel Heinze has urged Diego Maradona not to make a snap decision on his future as Argentina coach.

CAPE TOWN // Gabriel Heinze has urged Diego Maradona not to make a snap decision on his future as Argentina coach. In the aftermath of Saturday's 4-0 hammering by Germany in the World Cup quarter-final in Cape Town, Maradona indicated he was likely to end his controversial tenure as coach. After struggling to make it through qualifying, Argentina quickly established themselves as one of the favourites in South Africa, only to succumb meekly to an organised German side at the Green Point Stadium.

Heinze insists progress has been made and while Maradona has never been far from the headlines, the former Real Madrid and Manchester United defender who now plays in France for Marseille, insists the legendary player must think carefully before stepping down as coach. "Now is not the time to make these decisions," said Heinze. "Surely it would be better to wait until the emotion has cooled. "Maradona has worked very well and it would be great for him to continue."

The World Cup is certainly going to be a less interesting place for the absence of Maradona, 49, even if his lack of tactical acumen was again missing as the world's best player, Lionel Messi, ended the tournament without a goal. Keeping Diego Milito, Inter Milan's Champions League hero, on the bench as his team subsided was inexplicable, while the total absence of Esteban Cambiasso from the Argentina squad came back to haunt them as Germany rampaged through the central midfield area he would surely have patrolled with diligence.

"I will defend the selection and I will defend this group," Heinze said. "We can take some positive things from our performances in South Africa. But as always results are the most important thing, and we screwed up." * PA