RIO DE JANEIRO: Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has only praise for his team after ther extra-time defeat by Germany in the World Cup Final in Maracana writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Sabella, who had already declared his intention of stepping down after the finals, hailed their efforts under the extra physical pressures weighing them down.

Argentina had one day fewer to prepare for the Final than opponents Germany who came up with a winner late in extra time when Sabella’s team were operating with several players virtually out on their feet.

Not only had Argentina could into the Final with a 24hr time lag but they had been taken all the way to the physical and mental tension of extra time and penalties in their semi-final against Holland.

Sabella said: “Of course the feelings are bitter to lose a World Cup Final. But our players were warriors. They left their skin on the pitch. They did everything. These players have played an extraordinary World Cup. They can look each other in the face and say they gave everything.


“Taking into account who the opponents were and that we had one less rest day, this was our best performance. We played a day later and extra time and the only thing I can do is congratulate my players and also congratulate Germany.”

Sabella endorsed the controversial decision of FIFA’s technical study group to award the golden ball, for the tournament’s outstanding player, to captain Lionel Messi.

“Messi is always one of the greats,” said Sabella. “He deserved the award.”

Javier Mascherano, Argentina’s man-of-the-match in the semi-final and again impressive in the Maracana, said: “The pain is immense. We wanted to win this for the people of Argentina, for those who came here to support us, but we lost.

“We have represented our country the best we could though. We have to lift our heads despite the pain. We gave everything we could out

“We had the best chances but we didn’t take them. And we only had to last another five minutes at the end. We just didn’t have that little bit of luck that you need in a final.”

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