Maradona: Argentina must stop living in past

MUNICH - National team coach Diego Maradona has urged Argentines to stop living in the past and pledged to give his country something new to celebrate.

Argentina won the 1978 and 1986 World Cups but since then, their history in the tournament has been one of near-misses, including defeat in the 1990 final to Germany, and frustration despite often playing outstanding, entertaining football.

"I want Argentina to believe in new heroes so that we don't stagnate watching what happened 24 years ago," Maradona, who captained the 1986 World Cup team, told reporters on Monday. "I want to renew the confidence in the Argentine football hero.

"I want something new. For too long, it's seemed that we are going to do it but we never end up winning the Cup.

"We don't want to keep repeating the hand of Maradona, Mario Kempes, those stories.

"I want us to talk about Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Diego Milito, Martin Palermo, Javier Mascherano."

"I don't want them to forget our 1986 team, but I want Argentina to have new world champions," added Maradona, whose team face Germany in a friendly on Wednesday.

"We have to go with the hunger a team needs to be world champions. We have the players to do it."

The World Cup finals in South Africa start on June 11 and Argentina are drawn against Nigeria, Greece and South Korea in Group B.