Sabella confirmed as Argentina coach

BUENOS AIRES - Alejandro Sabella has been confirmed as coach of Argentina until the 2014 World Cup finals after Sergio Batista had his contract rescinded following a disappointing Copa America.

Argentine Football Association (AFA) President Julio Grondona told Fox Sports on Monday there would be no formal announcement since it had become common knowledge Sabella was being given the position.

Sabella, who was assistant to Daniel Passarella at the 1998 World Cup, is expected to speak to the media at Argentina's Ezeiza training camp on the outskirts of the capital.

"The details are being finalised but Sabella has already been presented (in the media) and will be coach from here... until the World Cup in Brazil, contingent on Argentina qualifying for the tournament," said Grondona.

Sabella, 56, is the fourth coach to take charge of Argentina in five years since Jose Pekerman quit after the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. He has withdrawn from a deal with United Arab Emirates club Al-Jazira to be free for the Argentina job.

Batista, who took over from Diego Maradona after last year's World Cup finals in South Africa, was to have taken the team through the South American qualifiers and on to the finals if they qualified but Argentina's failure to win the Copa America on home soil last month ended up costing him his job.

Expectations had been high ahead of the tournament that Argentina, world champions in 1978 and 1986, would win their first major trophy since taking the South American title in 1993.

Sabella had a successful two years in his first job as a head coach with Estudiantes, highlighted by victory in the Libertadores Cup, South America's elite club competition, in 2009 and the Argentine Apertura league championship last December.

A former River Plate and Estudiantes playmaker who spent time in England with Sheffield United and Leeds United between 1978 and 1981, Sabella was ex-Argentina captain Passarella's right-hand man at several clubs including River where they forged their partnership.

Their young Argentina team including Juan Sebastian Veron, Gabriel Batistuta and Ariel Ortega reached the quarter-finals of the 1998 World Cup in France where they were eliminated by the Netherlands.

Argentina have not progressed beyond the last eight at a World Cup since the side captained by Maradona reached their second successive final in Italy in 1990.