Alejandro Sabella’s agent said before the World Cup final that his client was ready to quit as Argentina coach. Photograph: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters
Alejandro Sabella, who steered Argentina to the World Cup final in Brazil, has decided to quit as national team coach.
Reports suggest the 59-year-old Sabella, whose side lost the Maracanã final to Germany 1-0 after extra time, has told FA president Julio Grondona that he is standing down.
Argentina begin preparations for their next major tournament, the 2015 Copa América in Chile, with a friendly against Germany in Düsseldorf on 3 September.
Sabella’s agent Eugenio López said two days before the World Cup final that the coach was unlikely to carry on and Sabella himself said on his return to Buenos Aires with the team that he was unsure he had the energy to give his best any longer.
“You have to fill the energy tank which sometimes gets empty. I have to think if I’m in condition to give 100%,” Sabella said two weeks ago.
The Argentinian, who took charge in August 2011, led his country to first place in the World Cup qualifiers with a fine attack, led by Lionel Messi, that top-scored with 35 goals in 16 matches.
His side won their three group matches in Brazil thanks mainly to four goals from Messi and Argentina’s progress through the knockout rounds to their first World Cup final for 24 years was marked more by sound tactics and a firm defence.
The AFA will have to name a new coach quickly given next month’s game in Germany and further friendlies with Brazil in China and against Hong Kong on a tour of Asia in October.
Media reports put José Pékerman, who steered Colombia to the quarter-finals in Brazil and was in charge of Argentina at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, among the favourites to succeed Sabella.
I didn't want him to go! He did an excellent job with the squad and no more of Papa Sabella means no more of this: