Maradona: Argentina are alive

MUNICH - Argentina's 1-0 win over Germany showed the twice world champions are still alive, coach Diego Maradona said.

"We saw how good the players are today, I've been saying it for some time but in my country they don't listen to me," he told reporters. "We needed to show that we could do what we did today.

What people saw today is what I see in the training sessions and in the players, and fortunately we could put it into practice.

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"The Argentine public can rest assured that we have the players for the World Cup . ...we just need time to work together."

"We're alive, we know what we're doing on the pitch, we understand the moment of the national team which has not won anything for 24 years," added Maradona, referring to Argentina's 1986 World Cup win.

Argentina's win is a huge relief for Maradona, who has been through a turbulent 18 months has coach.

The team at one stage looked as it they might fail to qualify for the World Cup as they lost qualifiers at home to Brazil, and away to Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay.

The coach looked increasingly desperate last year and he repeatedly changed his squad and picked more than 100 players.

Although Wednesday's match was a friendly, Maradona compared it to their previous meeting in the 2006 World Cup when Germany won on penalties and a brawl ensued on the pitch.

"It looked like a World Cup quarter-final," he said after a match that featured some ferocious tackling from both sides.

Germany barely created a scoring chance as Argentina pressed their defenders in their own half of the pitch.

"The players did everything I asked," said Maradona.

"I believe we dominated every part of the field, we cancelled out their most important players and we coped well with their aerial game.

"We pressed Germany when they wanted to play out of defence, we pushed up to their third of the field and we blocked all their exits."