Sabella looking to ‘86 for Argentine inspiration
Carlos Bilardo’s side beat West Germany 3-2 in the final in Mexico 28 years ago
Alejandro Sabella of Argentina talks to the media during a press conference at Rio’s Maracana Stadium. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images
Alejandro Sabella, the former Sheffield United and Leeds United player who is now Argentina coach, admitted there are uncanny similarities between the team who Diego Maradona led to glory in 1986 and his side, with Lionel Messi occupying the role of talisman.
He has even taken advice from Carlos Bilardo, who was Argentina coach 28 years ago in Mexico when they beat West Germany 3-2 in the final.
Sabella told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro: “Let’s hope the result is the same, for starters. I was in Brazil when the match took place in 1986, and yes there are similarities. Let’s hope the result will be repeated.
“We [he and Bilardo] spoke about the importance of midfield, giving solidity to a team. You need to play continuously in the World Cup, and you have to be solid mentally and physically, with the right mindset.”
Sabella said Germany may have an advantage having played their semi-final against Brazil a day earlier, and also not having had to play extra-time. He pledged, however, that Argentina will sacrifice every last ounce of energy against the Germans in their quest to bring home the World Cup for their country.
He added: “This is a factor in favour of Germany, undoubtedly. But we’ll give our best, through humility, sacrifice, hard work, being down to earth and giving before receiving. We will give our all so that Argentina can be a champion once again.
“We’re happy to see the happiness in our people, bringing this joy to our people back home. We’ll do everything we can. More, we cannot do. We’ll do everything we can for the Argentina jersey.”
Sabella will give Angel Di Maria until just before the match before making a decision on his fitness after the Real Madrid winger suffered a torn thigh muscle.
Di Maria has been having stem cell injections to speed up his recovery and Sabella said: “We’ll see on Di Maria. We have special things planned for him. I’ll have a better idea after we’ve trained.”
Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero is expected to return to the starting line-up, however, after a full recovery from a muscle strain.