Argentina through to final of Confederations Cup

27th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 June 2005, HANOVER - Argentina coach Jose Pekerman said he believes in his young team and expects them to be fully fit when they face Brazil in the final of the Confederations Cup in Frankfurt on Wednesday. The South Americans on Sunday needed a penalty shoot-out to beat Mexico 6-5 after the game had ended in a 1-1 draw at the end of 120 minutes. Pekerman admitted that his side had problems against a strong Mexican side that had not been beaten for 21 matches. "We knew that the game would be very tough

27 June 2005

HANOVER - Argentina coach Jose Pekerman said he believes in his young team and expects them to be fully fit when they face Brazil in the final of the Confederations Cup in Frankfurt on Wednesday.

The South Americans on Sunday needed a penalty shoot-out to beat Mexico 6-5 after the game had ended in a 1-1 draw at the end of 120 minutes.

Pekerman admitted that his side had problems against a strong Mexican side that had not been beaten for 21 matches.

"We knew that the game would be very tough and I am not happy with our performance in the first half. The Mexicans were the better side in the first half, but I am proud how we managed to fight back, even after going a goal behind."

Mexico enjoyed most of the territorial advantage in the first half and although goalkeeper German Lux was twice called upon to make saves, neither side managed to score in the opening half.

In the 55th minute Brazilian-born midfielder Zinha slammed the ball against the upright for Mexico with Lux well beaten.

Mexico took the lead in the 13th minute of extra time when defender Carlos Salcido seemed to have already lost the ball, but continued into the area, where his speculative shot took a deflection off Fabricio Coloccini to curve over Lux into the net.

Luciano Figueroa should have levelled matters two minutes after the start of the second half of extra time when a cross from the right found the striker standing two metres from the goalline with an empty net facing him, but the ball bounced against his shin and wide.

He made amends in the 110th minute when he squeezed the ball through the legs of Sanchez for the equalizer.

As neither side managed to score a winner, the game had to go into a penalty shoot-out, which Argentina won with the first shot in sudden-death after all five takers from both sides had converted their attempts.

Ricardo Osorio had his shot saved by Lux, while Esteban Cambiasso scored for Argentina.

Pekerman will have to contest Wednesday's final against Brazil without forward Javier Saviola, who was sent off for kicking Gonzalo Pineda.

However, Pekerman said he is not too concerned about that, nor about the fact that his side will have a day's less rest than the Brazilians, who Argentina beat in a World Cup group qualifier earlier this month to book their place in next year's finals.

"I have a young side. They are highly motivated and determined and I am sure that they will be ready to take on Brazil."

Mexico's coach, Ricardo La Volpe, meanwhile slammed the referee after the match. "Anybody who knows football knows that once you become a big team, you have something like a referee bonus. This showed during the match."

The coach said that Argentina defender Fabricio Coloccini should have been red carded for a vicious challenge on Ramon Morales, which saw the midfielder having to be substituted.

DPA

Subject: German news

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