sport

Sabella: Germany favourites

​Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella thinks a well-rested Germany will have the advantage against the weary South Americans in Sunday's World Cup final.

Argentina advanced to the Maracana decider at the weekend following a gruelling extra-time and penalty shoot-out battle with the Netherlands.

Sabella admitted the fact that Germany had an extra day's rest and effectively had their 7-1 win over Brazil wrapped up inside half an hour could prove crucial.

"Some of our players are sore, beaten, tired - the results of a war, so to speak," said Sabella. "We have a final to play, with one day less to prepare and against a team like Germany, but with work, humility and seriousness, we'll do all we can to make it all the way to the top.

Sabella spoke admiringly of German football, saying they often produced players with a "South American touch".

"Germany throughout their entire history have always shown physical might, tactical, mental prowess, and have always had players with a certain South American touch," he said.

"The match is extremely difficult and I repeat the fact they haven't played extra time and we've played two, and played one day after Germany.

"Germany is always a very difficult hurdle to overcome.

"We'll see if it's a minor issue, the fact we played after and the Germany game was decided in the first 45 minutes, so they could ease off in the second half, whereas we had to spend all the effort, and every last drop of sweat to reach the World Cup final."

Argentina, chasing their third World Cup title, last reached the final in Italy in 1990, when they lost 1-0 to West Germany.

Sabella meanwhile praised defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano, who pulled off a sensational block to deny Arjen Robben in normal time.

"Mascherano is a symbol, an emblem. We were able to move onto the semi-finals and he took this huge weight on his shoulders," Sabella said.

"He's an outstanding player. Other clubs wanted to take him.

"I don't need to make any other comments. (Pep) Guardiola, (Rafa) Benitez, these coaches wanted to take him with them.

"He's an emblem for the national squad on the field of play and off it."