SAO PAULO - Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella sought to take the pressure off his side going into Wednesday's World Cup semi-final against the Netherlands in Sao Paulo, claiming that they had 'already won'.
“Our intention was to go as far as possible, and to try to get in among the best four teams. Having reached this stage, we will never settle for losing now, but for me this group of players have already won,” Sabella said that at his eve-of-match press conference at the Corinthians Arena.
Argentina is preparing to play their first World Cup semi-final in 24 years, since Diego Maradona's side reached the final in Italy in 1990. Then they lost 1-0 to West Germany in the final, and the Germans lie in wait this time after their stunning 7-1 defeat of Brazil on Tuesday. "We have already crossed the rubicon, but now we will try to go a bit further and take another small step forward," Sabella added.
Argentina must get the better of a Dutch side who have impressed on their run to the last four, with coach Louis van Gaal showing himself to be one of the wiliest tacticians in the business, and Sabella was full of praise for his opposite number. "They have a brilliant coach. He has shown throughout his career that he is capable of changing his team's tactical set-up," said Sabella. "He is a very intelligent person."