Sabella - in Bilardo's footsteps

Sabella - in Bilardo's footsteps

The parallels between Alejandro Sabella and the man he hopes to emulate, 1986 World Cup-winning coach Carlos Bilardo, are enough to convince some fans that the time is ripe for Argentina's third World Cup success.

The link is Estudiantes, the small club from La Plata who have won the South American Libertadores Cup four times, three with Bilardo as playmaker in the late 1960s and once with Sabella as their coach in 2009.

When Bilardo was playing, Estudiuantes reached three World Club Championship finals, winning in 1968, a feat they also achieved with Sabella as coach in 2009 when they lost the final to Barcelona.

The pair also worked together in the early 1980s. Fresh from his English experience at Sheffield United, where he is still regarded with reverence by the fans, and Leeds United, Sabella worked under Bilardo at Estudiantes in a creative midfield role, winning two league titles.

The 59-year-old Sabella's choice of Belo Horizonte as Argentina's World Cup base is no surprise.

It is the city of his greatest achievement as a coach when Estudiantes won the Libertadores Cup there in 2009 with Juan Sebastian Veron as captain.

Sabella has prior World Cup experience, having gone to France 98 as Daniel Passarella's assistant.