World cup 2014

Fifa World Cup 2014

World Cup Final: Sabella will step down regardless of result, while Loew reaches for long-term goal

Argentina manager has forged a work ethic among players; Germany's boss has instilled determined team spirit

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 July, 2014, 12:56am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 July, 2014, 10:17am

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella is to step down after the final regardless of the result, his agent said.

And Sabella, 59, could deliver no better parting gift than winning the World Cup on the soil of their fiercest rivals.

"To go at the top is always positive. I believe he gave everything to the national team and that now is the time to give way to another person," Eugenio Lopez said. "Whether they are champions or not, a cycle is ending."

You gain experiences, you have triumph and defeats, but what he has preserved is a clear-cut philosophy
Philipp Lahm on Joachim Loew

Sabella told Argentina sports newspaper Ole he was focused only on this match.

"The future, for me, is the next match, the World Cup final. Thinking about something different would be disrespectful," he said.

Argentina have been more workmanlike than wonderful under Sabella, but he has forged a formidable work ethic in the side and introduced much-needed tactical discipline.

Capped eight times by Argentina, Sabella left River Plate in 1978 to play in England with Sheffield United and Leeds United before playing for various club sides back home as well as in Brazil and Mexico.

He got his first head coaching job in 2009 at Estudiantes and led them to their fourth Copa Libertadores title. Two years later he was put in charge of Argentina,

Meanwhile, rival Joachim Loew has again saved Germany's best until the finals with the 54-year-old poised to finally claim his first major title.

Having been appointed Juergen Klinsmann's assistant in 2004 before becoming head coach in 2006, Germany have reached at least the semi-finals of all five major tournaments during his decade involved.

"Everyone changes over 10 years. You gain experiences, you have triumph and defeats, but what he has preserved is a clear-cut philosophy," said his captain Philipp Lahm, who has been with Loew every step of the way.

Everything Loew has done since a humiliating semi-final defeat to Italy two years ago in Euro 2012 and a disconcerting semi-final loss to Spain in the World Cup two years before that has been with this final in mind.

"Pressure from Germany to win the World Cup? What pressure are you talking about?" Loew said with a rare flash of irony in a German TV interview before the tournament began before bursting out in a hearty laugh.