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Maradona out as Argentina coach

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Maradona sacked as Argentina's coach
  • Diego Maradona's contract as coach is not renewed; Sergio Batista is interim coach
  • The decision is made Tuesday by the Argentine Football Association
  • Argentina advanced to the quarterfinals at the World Cup before 4-0 loss to Germany
  • Diego Maradona
  • Argentina
  • Soccer
  • FIFA World Cup
  • Sports

(CNN) -- Diego Maradona's contract as coach of the Argentine national soccer team will not be renewed, the spokesman for the Argentine Football Association (AFA) said Tuesday.

The decision was made unanimously by the association's executive committee Tuesday afternoon, after a meeting Monday night between Maradona and the association's president, Julio Grondona, said the spokesman Ernesto Cherquis Bialo.

Sergio Batista, currently coach of the Argentine national youth program and coach of the 2008 gold-medal winning Olympic team, will take over temporarily, Cherquis said.

Batista will coach the team for an August 11 friendly match against Ireland in Dublin.

Germany destroy Argentina in quarterfinal

Under Maradona, the country's greatest ever player, Argentina reached the quarterfinals of this year's World Cup in South Africa before being ousted after a 4-0 drubbing by Germany.

Grondona said the decision not to renew Maradona's contract became inevitable after an impasse over his coaching staff.

Maybe he didn't have the technical and tactical knowledge and that was exposed by Germany
--Gavin Hamilton, World Soccer

Maradona was determined to keep his entire backup team, recently telling Argentine television that he would quit if the AFA were to "touch one hair" of one of his assistants.

"The hardest difference to agree on was changing some of Diego's staff," Grondona told reporters.

"Nobody has been sacked. A contract has not been extended because the conditions were not the suitable."

The 49-year-old took charge of the national side in November 2008 and oversaw a turbulent qualification campaign, which included a 6-1 thrashing in Bolivia.

The Albiceleste eventually rallied and qualified for South Africa via a late goal against Uruguay in their last game in October.

Following the victory, Maradona unleashed an obscene tirade at journalists and was banned for two months.

In South Africa, Maradona appeared popular with players and fans as Argentina produced some of the most entertaining football of the World Cup.

The country beat Nigeria, Greece and South Korea in the group stage and reached the last eight after a 3-1 victory over Mexico. Always demonstrative and emotional, Maradona reacted to every goal with a jubilant dance and greeted his players with bear hugs and kisses as they left the field.

But the manner of their humiliation against Germany left many pundits doubting Maradona's tactical ability at the very highest level.

Messi reveals close ties with Maradona

"This is not a surprise after the defeat by Germany," Gavin Hamilton, editor of World Soccer magazine, told CNN. "I think Maradona wanted to stay on, but he's such a difficult character and there are so many personalities within the federation that it was always going to be a difficult relationship.

"I think the players and fans will be disappointed because he's a hugely popular figure and the players seemed to enjoy playing with him.

"He created a really good atmosphere in the squad and seemed to get the hang of tournament football. But maybe he didn't have the technical and tactical knowledge and that was exposed by Germany."

Maradona's spell in charge of the national side was the latest episode of a career interspersed with moments of glory and controversy.

In 1986 he scored an infamous "Hand of God" goal against England on the way to inspiring Argentina to World Cup victory.

He was suspended from football for 15 months in 1991 after failing a doping test for cocaine while playing for Napoli in Italy, and was sent home from the 1994 World Cup in the U.S. for using ephedrine.

Since retiring from playing aged 37, he has battled several health problems related to his weight, drugs and alcohol.

"I don't think we've heard the last of Diego Maradona," said Hamilton.

Brian Byrnes contributed to this report for CNN.