Jorge Sampaoli was loath to mention Germany as one of the favourites for the World Cup, saying he does not "like the way they play".
Germany, meanwhile, coasted through the European section with 10 wins from 10, and are fancied to defend the trophy they won in Brazil by beating Argentina in the final.
Speaking to journalism students at the Tea and Deportea School in Argentina, he said: "I think Brazil, Spain and France are one step ahead of us due to their time working together.
"I don't mention Germany not because I forgot them, but because I don't like the way they play."
Sampaoli also hinted at a recall for Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, who has fallen out of favour since he took the job, while expressing his sympathy for Boca Juniors striker Dario Benedetto, who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury earlier this month.
"In the short term, the Higuain issue was complicated for us," he added.
"In the medium term I think he can be an important player."
On Benedetto, he added: "I spoke with him, now his priority has to be to return. Unfortunately, he will not be able to compete in the same conditions as the other attackers."