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The best moments in the coaching of Alejandro Sabella

The Argentine National Team coach passed away, but his football legacy was very important for Latin America.

Alejandro Sabella during a press conference

We tell you which were the best moments of Alejandro Sabella as a coach. / Photo: Flickr-Fanny Schertzer

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: Los mejores momentos en la dirección técnica de Alejandro Sabella

Argentine and Latin American soccer are in mourning. In addition to the death of the star Diego Armando Maradona, considered one of the best footballers of all time, our region has to mourn another loss: that of Alejandro Sabella, the former technical director of the Argentine National Team who achieved the runner-up in Brazil 2014.

At the age of 66, the former coach and idol of Estudiantes de La Plata died of an in-hospital virus, which was complicated by an acute heart disease that had been afflicting him. These were the most important milestones of Alejandro Sabella, one of the best Latin American coaches of the last decade.

Sabella: a technician who generated hope

Alejandro Sabella began his career as a coach as a technical assistant to Daniel Passarella. From 1989 to 2007, he was a member of the group of assistants of the former River idol, passing through very important clubs, such as River Plate, Corinthians, Monterrey or Parma, but also in the Uruguay National Team and the Argentine National Team.

However, in 2009 he decided to start his solo career in a club where he was already an idol: Estudiantes de La Plata. His first season crowned him with one of the club's most important titles, which was the Copa Libertadores de América that same year, with a very balanced team, but also with emblematic players.

In fact, Marca highlights that Sabella "led Estudiantes to touch the sky with their hands", with one of the strongest teams in Latinamerica in the last year. With some emblematic players, such as Mariano Andújar, Rodrigo Braña, Juan Sebastián Verón, Gastón Fernández or Mauro Boselli, he achieved the fourth Libertadores in the club's history.

After that conquest, he had to play the Club World Cup. After beating the Pohang Steelers in the semifinals, he had to face the best team in football history: Guardiola's FC Barcelona, which would finally get all possible trophies for one season in the same tournament.

The game ended 2-1 in favor of the Catalans, who had talents such as Henry, Xavi Hernández, Ibrahimović and Messi. Surprisingly, the match started in favor of the Argentine team, with a goal from Mauro Boselli headed. After a lot of enduring, finally Pedro would score the tie 60 seconds from the end, while, 20 minutes from the extension, Messi scored a goal with his chest.

Read also: Great Latinamerican Athletes: Argentina edition

Later, TyC Sports revealed that a video of the strategic talk was leaked that explained the tactic to cancel Barcelona. By integrating a line of 5, he managed to defend the attack of the 3 lethal opposing forwards, at the same time in which, through well-executed counters, he was able to endanger the goal of Víctor Valdés.

Despite having lost that match, he perfected the team the following season, winning the Apertura Tournament 2010. However, the time would come for a much greater challenge: taking charge of the Argentina Soccer Team, which had not had good results in the World Cup since 1990.

In 2011 he replaced Sergio Batista after he lost in the Copa América that same year in the country. Little by little, he managed to curdle a fantastic tie for the World Cup, where Argentina qualified first in the group in a very comfortable way and with a consolidated team. Although it was also highly criticized, for the "style of play", which was not too attractive.

This is a situation that also occurred in the past with another student idol, who finally managed to win the 1986 World Cup and reach the 1990 final: coach Carlos Bilardo. For this reason, at first these criticisms of the “style of play” were associated with what happened at that time, where, finally, it would end up silencing all those who attacked the proposal.

Upon reaching the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the team began with doubts in the group stage, with a poorly balanced team and which had to make tactical modifications on the fly, although it also found an inspired Messi. Despite the setbacks, he managed to beat Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria, all by just one goal. From there, Sabella began to excite the Argentine people.

After beating Switzerland in the round of 16, the fear was in the quarterfinals, since Argentina had been eliminated in that instance the last two World Cups. When they managed to win, the spirits were through the roof, something that intensified in the semifinal against the Netherlands, which allowed Argentina to reach the final against Germany, being an extremely emotional moment.

Although in the final Germany ended up beating Argentina in overtime, reality had indicated that an entire country was happy with the results. In other words, the process was excellently received by the Argentines, despite not bringing the cup, highlighting the serious figure of Sabella, who managed to unite a country that was historically divided between different ideological currents.

The truth is that this person managed to break with that paradigm, causing all political ideologies to value the work of this DT. By then, Sabella had become an icon of Argentina and Latin America, being one of the 4 technicians in the country who reached a world final.