Germany ruined the samba nation's dream of winning the World Cup
when they hammered Brazil 7-1 on Tuesday but forward Thomas Mueller
revealed it could have been worse.
The Europeans were leading 5-0 at halftime and decided during the
break that they would not embarrass the hosts by showboating with
fancy passes or trick shots.
"With the score the way it was, we said we should avoid being
arrogant and to refrain from humiliating the opponent," Mueller said
"There was this agreement and it came from the players themselves."
Mueller, one of 10 names short-listed for the Golden Boot award
given to the best player of the tournament, said Germany were
anticipating a much tougher match from Argentina so could not afford
to let up at any stage against the South Americans.
"I’m not expecting that we'll be ahead 5-0 at halftime again like
against Brazil even though that would be nice,” he said.
"It could end up being a tight match like against Algeria or France.
But it doesn’t matter. We know what we have to do.”
Germany captain Philipp Lahm also said there was no room for
sentiment in the final, adding that his team was single-minded in
their approach to the game.
“We’re here to win the World Cup,” he told reporters at Germany's
secluded training camp at Santo Andre. “The experience we’ve got all
the way through our team is definitely an edge for us."
END OF AN ERA
Regardless of the result, Sunday's match will mark the end of the
road for Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella, who is stepping down,
according to his agent.
A former midfielder who was capped eight times by Argentina, Sabella
got involved in coaching after he retired as a player in 1989 and
took on the national job in 2011.
"He's going. He's leaving whatever happens. Whether they are
champions or not, a cycle is ending," agent Eugenio Lopez said.
Argentina were fined 300,000 Swiss francs ($336,000) by FIFA on
Friday for failing to bring players to four pre-match news
conferences during the World Cup.
However, the sport's world governing body did pick three of their
players - Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and midfielder Javier
Mascherano - for the Golden Boot shortlist.
Germany had four players selected, Mueller and Lahm plus Mats
Hummels and Toni Kroos, while Colombia midfielder James Rodriguez,
Netherlands forward Arjen Robben and Brazil's Neymar, who was
injured in the quarter-finals, were also nominated.
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Italian Nicola Rizzoli, a 42-year-old architect, was chosen as
the referee for Sunday's showpiece game at the Maracana while
Algeria's Djamel Haimoudi will take charge of Saturday's third-place
playoff between Brazil and the Netherlands in Brasilia.
The future of Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari remains the source
of widespread speculation in his homeland in the wake of the
country's record World Cup defeat by Germany.
Scolari, who led Brazil to their fifth world crown in 2002, has not
revealed his long term plans but Marco Polo Del Nero, the
president-elect of the Brazilian Football Confederation, said he
should keep his job because of the good work he did during his 19
months in charge.
"To me, he stays," Del Nero told the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper.
"What happened was a tactical error. That was the problem. But we
all make mistakes. It can happen to anyone."
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal, who will is definitely leaving his
post to become manager of Manchester United, has changed his tune on
the importance of the third-place playoff.
Initially critical of the match, Van Gaal has now told his players a
win would see them the end the tournament undefeated after they were
eliminated in a penalty shootout by Argentina.
"It would be wonderful to close this World Cup by winning but we
still won't be satisfied," he said.
"It will be part of my speech that this is my last match and the
players may want to give me a present in the form of victory so we
can finish the tournament undefeated."
(Editing by Ken Ferris)
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