thumbnail Hello,

Messi: We gave joy to our country

The 27-year-old has been criticized for a below-par display in the World Cup final but says he and his teammates proved their worth during the tournament.

Lionel Messi says Argentina proved its doubters wrong despite losing the World Cup final 1-0 to Germany on Sunday.

Mario Gotze's extra-time strike was the difference between the sides after Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Rodrigo Palacio had missed golden opportunities in each half of the encounter.

MORE: Beautiful people in Brazil | USA MVP rankings

The 27-year-old was surprisingly awarded the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament after the game, with the likes of Diego Maradona and Alessandro Nesta questioning that decision Monday.

But Messi is insistent that Argentina displayed its quality in Brazil and said he already has his eyes set on further success with the national side in the future.

"We gave everything we had and we couldn't achieve our goal. But we gave joy to our country by reaching the final," the Albiceleste captain said. "When we traveled to Brazil, there were a lot of doubts around us from the people and the media, but it made us stronger than ever. We want to keep working to give more joy to the country."

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella, who revealed during the tournament he would step down at the end of the competition, echoed the sentiments of his star player by expressing his pride at leading his country to the final.

"I'm part of the 40 million Argentines, I'm not above them," he added. "I'm really proud of this group, they've put their body and soul into every match, every action.

"That's what made people so enthusiastic: they realized that everybody on the team was going to do that."