In his column for TOI, Ardiles wrote, “We were bad, to be honest. It’s very worrying for what is going to happen later in the tournament. Of course Iceland made it even more difficult with the way they were defending, but we have to know how to open up this kind of defence. This is something that happens all the time, especially for people like Messi. Tactically we were very slow managing the ball, everything was incredibly slow, giving Iceland the time to go, come back and defend in numbers.”
“Next we face Croatia, who are not going to just come and defend. Not at all! And if we lose there is a great possibility of us heading home. We are going to have to be at our very best, in every way. For that to happen we have to substantially change everything about the way we played the first game. We were so, so poor on Saturday: the defence looked vulnerable, the midfield was kind of non-existent and looked like it had no fight. Even worse, we were extremely poor with the ball and were not able to create play,” added the former midfielder who won the 1978 FIFA World Cup as part of the Argentine national team.
“Croatia are a very good team and that’s no surprise when many of their internationals play in Europe: their star Luka Modric plays for Real Madrid, Ivan Rakitic for Barcelona, and Mario Mandzukic for Juventus. They are a very well-organised team and it’s going to be tough to beat them. In fact they are going to be a very difficult side for anyone to beat. The game of the tournament so far has been Spain-Portugal. What a wonderful match. Spain were the better side but Portugal have Ronaldo and he was just brilliant. A hattrick in the World Cup to add to all the others, so what else can one say? And to do it against a top team like Spain is even more precious,” Ardiles wrote.
“As for my adoptive country: most times there is a lot of hype around England but this team is very young and expectations are not high. They are young, ambitious, and I expect them to get past the group stage but then that’s when the World Cup really starts and it will all depend on how they play. The tournament has been going as expected and looks like all the top teams will qualify. The only one that doesn’t look certain, unfortunately, is Argentina. Not if we play the way we did against Iceland,” Ardiles signed off.