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Thursday 19 October 2017

Argentina coach Sabella may step down after final

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella might step down after tomorrow's World Cup final against Germany.

Sabella's spokesman, Eugenio Lopez, said that "I think he will end after the World Cup, complete the cycle and leave for another project."

Sabella has coached Argentina since 2011.

Lopez suggested that Sabella would have been more likely to stick around had Argentina been eliminated in the second round or the quarterfinals.

Lopez says "it's better to leave while you're up, rather than when you're down."

Meanwhile, Argentina winger Angel Di Maria is racing against the clock to recover from a thigh injury in time for the final.

Argentina team spokesman Andres Ventura says Di Maria was practicing at "60-80 percent" at the team base in Belo Horizonte, and that team doctors would monitor his condition on a daily basis "to see if he can play."

Di Maria strained a muscle in his right thigh in the first half of the quarter-final match against Belgium last Saturday. He missed Wednesday's semi-final against the Netherlands, with Enzo Perez taking his spot in Argentina's midfield.

Though Perez worked hard in the midfield, Argentina lost an important feature of their attacking game without Di Maria's runs down the flanks.

Unlike Germany, Argentina have advanced with single-goal margins against their opponents and couldn't score before the semi-final shoot-out against the Netherlands. Four years ago in South Africa, Argentina lost 4-0 to Germany in the quarter-finals.

"At this point who is favorite, who is not, it doesn't make a difference," midfielder Maxi Rodriguez said. "Both teams feel a responsibility to go all the way. We're going to do our part to make it."

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