Sabella proud of players and defends Messi

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said he was proud of his charges as they lost the FIFA World Cup final to Germany on Sunday.

Germany prevailed 1-0 after extra-time courtesy of Mario Gotze's volley in the 113th minute, with Argentina unable to produce a response at the Maracana.

Sabella said his players gave their all, as they fell short of adding to Argentina's two World Cup titles.

"These are very close matches and when you make a mistake, you know it's difficult to turn it around," Sabella said, as reported by FIFA.com. 

"But in general terms, I'm very proud and my boys played an extraordinary World Cup. 

"It was very exciting to see them play and it's clear they gave everything for the Argentinian jersey. 

"They can look themselves in the mirror and know they gave everything. 

"I congratulate my players for their extraordinary work and also congratulate Germany on winning the title."

Sabella was staunch in his defence of talisman Lionel Messi, who was unable to lead his side to World Cup glory.

Messi was awarded the Golden Ball on Sunday as player of the tournament, and his coach said he was a deserving winner - and refuted suggestions his legacy will be tarnished by the lack of a World Cup trophy.

"Messi played a great World Cup. He was absolutely fundamental to us getting where he did. He deserves any award," Sabella said.

"As for his reputation, he is in that pantheon. But he was there before. He has been there for quite some time."


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