Martino takes over as coach of Argentina's national team

BUENOS AIRES, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Gerardo Martino Thursday took over as the new coach of Argentina's national football team, saying he hoped to "continue" the work of his predecessor Alejandro Sabella, who led the lineup to place second at the 2014 Brazil World Cup.

Martino also pledged to remain accessible to the entire team, saying "the doors will be open to all the players."

For Argentina's upcoming friendly against Germany in Dusseldorf on Sept. 3, Martino said he will call up the 23-man lineup that played in Brazil, as "a reward for the group."

"Being able to coach the national team of your own country is a source of great pride. I think that everyone who decides to become a coach has this goal in mind. I feel privileged. In addition to pride, I feel the enormous responsibility that this position entails," said Martino.

Martino, 51, was presented as the new coach by the Argentine Football Association (AFA) at a site on the outskirts of the capital Buenos Aires.

He promised to work to ensure "the national team continues to rank where it is and where it deserves to stay. The idea is to maintain the line begun by Sabella. Alejandro has done a wonderful job."

Martino said his former post, in Barcelona, Spain, "was good training" for his current coaching challenge.

The former coach of Paraguay's national team -- which he took to the quarterfinals of the 2010 South Africa World Cup, where they lost to then champions Spain 1-0 -- has signed on through the 2018 Russia World Cup, with an option to automatically renew his contract depending on how well the team performs.