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Jul 1, 2014

Ottmar Hitzfeld proud after final game

Ottmar Hitzfeld revealed his "pride" after coaching Switzerland for the last game of his career as they dramatically exited the World Cup to Argentina.

- Delaney: Argentina finally break down Swiss
- We gave our lives - Angel Di Maria

Angel Di Maria scored a late extra-time winner to secure a 1-0 victory for the Albiceleste in Sao Paulo, sending the Swiss out of the tight round-of-16 clash on June 7.

And Hitzfeld -- whose brother passed away on the eve of the game -- believes his team can leave the tourmanent with "heads held high" after pushing the likes of Lionel Messi within three minutes of a penalty shootout.

Ottmar Hitzfeld's Switzerland side fell to an late extra-time defeat to Argentina.

"Pride prevails today. The team showed a passionate performance and we were tactically very mature," he told his postgame news conference.

"We managed to stay calm. We saw everything that can happen in the life of the coach: the shock of the goal against us and our incredible reaction to go for it all. This is something that will make us proud."

The Swiss managed to keep Argentine captain Messi quiet until the 117th minute, when he capitalised on a mistake to set up Di Maria for the goal.

ArgentinaArgentina
SwitzerlandSwitzerland
1
0
AET
Match 55
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Hitzfeld, however, insists that Alejandro Sabella has a number of key players to trouble teams in Brazil, and is not reliant on the Barcelona forward.

"Argentina is not just Messi," he continued. "You have players like Di Maria, [Ezequiel] Lavezzi, and [Javier] Mascherano.

"You have to concentrate on all the players on Argentina, not just one. We know that in one second, Messi can decide a match."

The 65-year-old, who will now retire as head coach of Switzerland, spoke of the "great honour" of leading the side, and believes they acquitted themselves well against one of the favourites to win the tournament.

"I will go on working for Sky Germany," he added. "I go to matches and I will be there as a journalist. I have a quiet life in front of me and the job as a coach has finished here.

"I'm proud of my career and have been fortunate to coach marvelous teams. It has been a great honour to work for Switzerland and I am proud to say goodbye to the Swiss team with a heart full of emotions.

"Every moment in football will stick in my memory. You have the possibility of going into a penalty shootout and this creates enormous tension. Unfortunately, we did not make it and we can walk tall and leave with our heads held high."

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