Argentina need 'perfection' to win

RIO DE JANEIRO - Argentina need to be at their best to beat Germany in Sunday's World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro, according to their coach Alejandro Sabella.

"We need to play the perfect match," Sabella told reporters on Saturday.

"We need to be very focused, we need to occupy spaces and occupy them fast. We should not take risks in areas where that should not be done," the coach said.

Sabella said that he did not expect to have to do a lot of work to motivate his men, because "there is no greater motivation" than playing a World Cup final.

He praised Germany as a "extremely powerful" team in terms of both their fitness and their character, with "a very elaborate, very well-developed style of play."

"They use very well the back of midfielders, passes between lines, diagonals to forwards," he said.

Sabella declined to say whether Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria would be available to play after recovering from his thigh injury, noting that he would evaluate that in the last training session ahead of the match.

"(Saturday) is a crucial day to see how he has evolved," Sabella said.

The fact that Germany played their semi-final Tuesday and beat Brazil 7-1 in 90 minutes while Argentina needed a penalty shoot-out to overcome the Netherlands Wednesday is one element in Germany's favour, Sabella noted, but he stressed his men would give everything to win the match.

"We're going to give everything for Argentina to be the champions again," Sabella said. "We're going to do everything we possibly can, because we cannot do more than that."

"That is the minimum and the maximum all at once: to give everything for one's team-mates, for the Argentina shirt and for football," Sabella said. 

He called for the "humility, sacrifice, effort, simplicity" that he sees as the trademark of the Argentina team to be able to come out on top in the final and earn the South American country their third World Cup title.

Sabella reviewed historic clashes between the two sides and said he hoped Sunday's final would be like the final Argentina won 3-2 in 1986 "in the result, for starters."

As to Argentina's 4-0 defeat against Germany in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals, he blamed it on the fact that Germany scored early.

"I hope that, if there is an early goal (Sunday), I hope it will be ours," he said.

Sabella admitted that the current Argentina is "perhaps a more conservative team" than the one of four years ago, with Diego Maradona as coach.

"We seek a win through a different path. Obviously that team wanted to win too," he said. "These are different teams, and while many players  are the same, the situation is different."

Argentina keeper Sergio Romero, defender Martin Demichelis, midfielder Javier Mascherano and star striker Lionel Messi played in that 2010 loss, while Germany's survivors include Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira and Thomas Mueller, among others.

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