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I’m proud of my boys: Sabella

Rio de Janeiro: Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella heaped praise on his team after Sunday’s 1-0 World Cup final defeat by Germany on Sunday, saying they gave their all but lacked cutting edge in front of goal during an even game.

“They played a fantastic World Cup. There’s nothing to blame them for,” Sabella said at a news conference after Mario Goetze’s extra-time volley sunk his team.

“Today we had our chances but we just lacked efficiency. In general terms, though, I am very proud of my boys. Beyond the pain of defeat they can look each other in the eye, and look in the mirror, and know they gave their all for Argentina.”

Sabella, whose agent has said he would stand down after the World Cup final, declined to discuss his future. “The future for me in this moment is to be with the players, to be with the coaching staff, to be with my family, to rest a bit,” he said.

Asked if Messi had missed a chance to join the world’s greats by not winning the World Cup, Sabella said the Argentina captain and Barcelona forward had already answered that debate.

“I think Lionel reached the pantheon of the greats a while back,” he said, adding that Messi fully deserved his ‘Golden Ball’ award. “He played a great World Cup to get us where we did. I think it’s very deserved.”

The coach described the mood among his charges in Argentina’s dressing room as sombre. “It is the silence of the warrior because they were warriors. They left their skin out there, their last drop of sweat on the pitch,” he said.

TEAMS

Germany: Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Benedikt Hoewedes, Philipp Lahm, Christoph Kramer (Andre Schurrle, 31st), Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil (Per Mertesacker, 120), Thomas Mueller, Miroslav Klose (Mario Goetze, 88)

Argentina: Sergio Romero, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Ezequiel Garay, Marcos Rojo, Lucas Biglia, Javier Mascherano, Enzo Perez (Fernando Gago, 86), Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain (Rodrigo Palacio, 78), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Sergio Aguero, 46th)

Man of Match: Mario Goetze

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)