Thursday, October 19, 2017

Argentina suffered till the last moment to beat the Swiss – reactions

Round of 16 – Argentina 1-0 Switzerland 

Di Maria – the Savior of the whole country, delivers the Albiceleste at the 118th minute; Messi with the assist.

Alejandro Sabella, Argentina coach
It was an even game in the first half, with just two or three chances, but I think we were by far the better side in the second half. We deserved the win, but the ideal thing would have been to have got the job done in normal time. It goes without saying that winning is the most important thing and the only thing that really matters. As a coach you have to do things to make winning easier – you have to look for the right approach, strategy and players.

Apart from the odd lapse in concentration here and there, I think the team played well. We were up against a very awkward side, and we probed down the right and probed down the left. I’d like to congratulate my players on their great performance, though there are some areas where we need to improve”.

Lionel Messi
“The main thing is that we’re through. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Time was going by and we didn’t want to go to penalties – we wanted to win the game. As for the goal, my first thought was to go for it myself, but then I saw Di Maria appear and I decided to play him in. Fortunately, he was able to put it away. That’s football and today luck was on our side. We have to make the most of it and keep on going”. 

Ottmar Hitzfeld, Switzerland coach
“We played the game we had to play, but you can see for yourself what Argentina can do when they have space. If we’d gone out and attacked them, then maybe they would have scored more goals than France did. The idea was to stop (Lionel) Messi by putting three or four players on him, but when you’re up against a team like that you can’t just concentrate on one player, as (Angel) Di Maria showed. It took a great finish to beat (Diego) Benaglio today.

I’d like to congratulate my players for the way they reacted at the end. Today Switzerland earned the recognition of many people around the world and we can walk away with our heads held high. As for my future, I’m retiring from coaching so I can lead a quieter life”.

www.fifa.com

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