Monday, July 14, 2014, 09:08
Sabella praises Argentina "warriors" after final defeat

Sabella praises Argentina
Argentina's head coach Alejandro Sabella stands with Javier Mascherano (#14) after the World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 13, 2014. Germany won the match 1-0. (AP)

Rio de Janeiro - Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella praised his players as "warriors" for their performance in the World Cup final defeat to Germany Sunday.

"It was very even. Germany are a great team, they work the ball well," Sabella said.

"The match had its ups and downs. I believe we did have the clearer plays but we had played two extra-times and we played one day later. All I can say is I congratulate my players. They did an extraordinary job and I also congratulate Germany on the title."

 Sabella praises Argentina
Sabella said with all the matches close it is always difficult to get back into the game after conceding a goal.

"Today we had our opportunities, and perhaps what we needed was more efficiency. In general terms I am very proud," he said.

"The boys played an extraordinary World Cup and improved as they moved on. They did everything for the Argentinian shirt and the group. Beyond the pain of a final defeat they can look each other in the eyes and themselves in the mirror and say they did everything they could."

Argentina were defeated in extra-time after Mario Goetze, an 88th-minute substitute, scored the winner for Germany seven minutes before the end of extra-time.

Argentina had beaten the Netherlands on penalties after extra-time in the semi-finals on Wednesday and had a day less to recover than Germany, who defeated Brazil 7-1 on Tuesday.

Calling his players "warriors", Sabella said: "Maybe it's not the word to use in this context but hope you understand what I mean.

"We always say that beyond the result a coach must always assess performance and I believe the performance was good. They left their skin on the pitch, the last drop of sweat, they did everything for the group.

"The players are sad, we are all sad because we had a huge dream having made it all the way to the final. I am sad just like the players, on the one hand with the normal pain of losing the final but pleased because the players gave their all."

Lionel Messi deserved the Golden Ball as best player of the tournament and can be compared to the greats of the game such as Pele and Diego Maradona, Sabella said.

"I think he did deserve it because he played an extraordinary World Cup. He was a fundamental factor in the team so that we could make it all the way," he said.

Sabella, who took over the national team three years ago, has been reported by his agent as intending to step down. It is thought the Argentinian football federation would like the 59-year-old coach to continue.

"I can't speak about the future," he said.

"The future for me now is to be with the players, with my people, the technical coaches, my family, and to rest a bit. So the future, I don't know what to say."