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Updated: June 9, 2014 00:06 IST
FIFA World Cup

Driving Force: Argentina

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The Hindu

“Born at River, adopted at Estudiantes” is how Alejandro Sabella describes his football philosophy.

While the 59-year-old seeks to maximise his side’s pace and sharp finishing through a counterattacking style, he has also admitted in the past – “I’d be happy to win half-nil.”

Nevertheless, Sabella enjoys much appreciation in Argentina for enhancing Lionel Messi’s productivity for the national side. Unlike his predecessor Sergio Batista, the former Copa Libertadores winner also seems impervious to public pressure, as seen in his refusal to name the popular Carlos Tevez in the squad.

However, Sabella has courted controversy for allegedly picking an inordinate number of former Estudiantes players who he coached during his successful tenure at the club. Indeed, no less than six ex-Estudiantes footballers have found a place on the plane to Brazil.

This won’t be Sabella’s first visit to the World Cup in a coaching capacity as he was Daniel Passarella’s assistant at the 1998 tournament in France.

Arguably, his greatest challenge in Brazil will be to shore up a conspicuously fragile defence.

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