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Last Updated: Friday, 27 August, 2004, 20:25 GMT 21:25 UK
Italy-Iraq match marred by death
Italy's Alberto Gilardino, centre, celebrates after scoring against Iraq during the bronze medal men soccer match
Italy's team wore black bands in memory of Baldoni
Italy and Iraq's Olympic football teams have played an emotional game just hours after it emerged that an Italian journalist was murdered in Iraq.

Italy's team wore black armbands during the bronze medal match, and Italian and Iraqi Olympic officials paid tribute to the journalist, Enzo Baldoni.

Baldoni disappeared on 19 August. His captors had demanded that Italy withdraw its troops from Iraq.

Italy beat Iraq by 1-0, ending the team's hopes of a medal.

Sadness

The Italian foreign ministry said its diplomats in the Gulf had reported seeing video footage of the hostage being shot in the head.

Amir Al Saadi, secretary general of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, and Franco Carraro, president of the Italian football federation, read statements condemning Baldoni's death.

Enzo Baldoni, photographed at a Red Cross camp in Najaf on 19 August
Enzo Baldoni was working for a Milan magazine

"Our feelings are with the Italian people and we are very sad about what happened," Mr Al Saadi told reporters.

"I am very confident that the people who did this were not Iraqi people," he said.

Mr Carraro said he was grateful to the attitude of the Iraqi delegation.

"We wish to remember very well that, while the Iraqi are playing their games, many people in Iraq are dying each day."

Some officials had said Iraqi players would also wear black armbands during the game, but they did not.

Italy's other sportsmen and women paid tribute to the slain journalist on Friday.

Its volleyball players wore black tape over their hearts and its water polo team had black armbands.


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