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Monday, 10 June, 2002, 08:26 GMT 09:26 UK
Argentine press rue England defeat
England's players shake hands with their Argentine opponents ahead of the game
England v Argentina: A classic grudge match
Argentine newspapers lament the 1-0 defeat by England, although they are unanimous in agreeing that the best team won.


Argentina lost a classic against England

La Razon

Remarkably, there is no sign of rancour, but admiration for the way the England players went about their business.

Marking the players out of 10, La Nacion gives the England players a minimum of five, with Michael Owen and Paul Scholes getting eight, and David Seaman seven.

In marked contrast, the highest-ranked Argentine player receives five marks, and the lowest, a three, goes to captain Juan Sebastian Veron, substituted at half time.

"Absolute shame: Argentina were impotent", says a headline in the same daily. "The team deserved to lose and what was almost a foregone conclusion is now a future of uncertainty."

Beckham's revenge

According to La Razon, Argentina went "from euphoria to disillusion. The present hurts, and the future is a cause for worry".


They had to beat us some time

Diego Maradona in La Nacion

It describes the match as a "true battle between the Argentinians and the English".

"A heated 15 minutes found Gabriel Batistuta squeezing the defenders Campbell and Cole. But 45 minutes saw the worst of Veron."

Owen "fell spectacularly" after a "slight touch" in the area to gain England's penalty, the paper says. David Beckham "gained his personal revenge for France 98" by scoring.

La Razon says Argentina played well enough to deserve a draw "which would have calmed the nerves we are destined to suffer in the days ahead".

Veron confesses

Speaking in La Nacion, Veron acknowledges his failings. "Bielsa (the coach) did what he had to do. I was playing poorly and he took me off."


A team without a compass

Clarin

The paper says Argentines are "angry and disenchanted" about the result and asks the Manchester United midfielder how he feels.

"It was a difficult game, but we knew it was going to be," Veron replies. "But I think that one can always learn from defeats. A night to forget, but to keep in mind our mistakes."

La Nacion's correspondent in London speaks of "sweet revenge".

She says: "What a week for the English! Four days of Jubilee celebrations for 50 years of Elizabeth and now a miracle with the taste of revenge administered by the King of Celebrity, David Beckham."

Argentines living in London "had prepared for a fiesta but defeat fell upon them like the worst of London downpours", she adds.

Former stars unimpressed

A report in La Nacion has Argentine football legend Diego Maradona taking the defeat philosophically. "They had to beat us some time," he is quoted as saying.

But Maradona adds that "historic teams never really lose. They are always about to achieve something. And Argentina is an historic team".

The daily also publishes comments from other, less optimistic former Argentina players. "The main difference was that Argentina came out to fight and England came out to play," says Silvio Marzolini. He blamed Veron, commonly known as "the little magician", for failing to perform.

But Jose Sanfilippo blames Gabriel Batistuta for letting down the side. "Batistuta came out to bully our rivals into submission, the English reacted, and we were the ones who ended up losing. He knows nothing."

Going home?

The major circulation Clarin criticises Argentina for playing like "a team without a compass".

But it is optimistic the situation can be saved. "The door is still open. Argentina has to rely on the recuperation of its best players and respecting the system developed by Bielsa."

Clarin warns that Argentina is at the crossroads. "The team is facing the path of glory or another path, which is better left unsaid."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

07 Jun 02 | Americas
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