Argentina need 'perfect' match to beat Germans

Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:07pm EDT
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By Andrew Cawthorne

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Argentina must play a flawless game on Sunday if they are to beat a powerful German team and lift the World Cup for the third time, their coach Alejandro Sabella said.

Germany go into the final at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium as favorites after their 7-1 demolition of hosts Brazil in the semi-final, but Argentina have shown a surprising defensive steel and in Lionel Messi they have a match-turner.

"We need to play great, concentrate hard, occupy spaces quickly, not risk the ball where it shouldn't be risked," said Sabella, who has imbued a new work ethic in the Argentine side during their run to a first World Cup final since 1990.

"From the physical, tactical and character points of view, Germany have always been extremely strong," he told reporters on Saturday.

"And now they have an elaborate style of play, with passes between lines, diagonal balls to the forwards. We need a perfect match to beat them."

Seeing their great South American rivals play in the final at the Maracana is torture for Brazilians who had fully expected their own team to be there fighting for the trophy.

The 100,000 or so Argentineans in Rio for the game have been making hay out of that, with songs and jokes mocking Brazil and blue-and-white flags draped all around the famous hilltop Christ statue. But Sabella took a more respectful approach.

"For this to be taking place in a country that has won the most in football is important, it's not a small matter," he said of five-times world champions Brazil.   Continued...

Argentina's national soccer team players listen to coach Alejandro Sabella (in white cap) during their training session in Rio de Janeiro July 12, 2014, ahead of their 2014 World Cup Final soccer match against Germany on July 13.    REUTERS/Darren Staples