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Last Updated: Friday, 30 June 2006, 18:53 GMT 19:53 UK
Pekerman quits as Argentina coach
Jose Pekerman
Pekerman took over as Argentina coach in September 2004
Jose Pekerman has quit as coach of Argentina following their quarter-final loss to Germany on penalties.

"This has come to an end and I will certainly not go on," he said.

"You have to make a decision and I'm convinced I've done everything in my reach, and it's time to look for something else.

"I'm very sorry for the coaches and the fans and the players, this team deserves to go further but we couldn't make it."

Argentina led through a Roberto Ayala goal but Miroslav Klose's late equaliser sent the game into extra-time.

Ayala and Esteban Cambiasso both missed in the penalty shoot-out to see the hosts progress 4-2.

It was a big mistake of the coach

Leonardo on Pekerman's decision to take off Riquelme

The 56-year-old Pekerman added: "It was a very exciting match. We also played like favourites and gave our best although we lost.

"The penalties were a consequence of a very even match. It's a shame for Argentina who played very well and in the whole championship."

Klose's equaliser came eight minutes after Pekerman had taken off playmaker Juan Riquelme.

The decision was heavily criticised by BBC pundits Alan Hansen, Martin O'Neill and Leonardo.

Former Brazil star Leonardo said: "It was a big mistake of the coach. You can't change the game like that when it is 1-0. Riquelme is an important player in the team.

"It's a big sign to the team that you are to defend and you always lose like that."

Hansen added: "I think the coach blew it. They got the goal and took off Riquelme at a stage when it was tailor-made for someone to put their foot on the ball and pass it.

"I think if he'd stayed on they would have won."

"He is a big player for them," added O'Neill. "There didn't seem too much wrong with him.

"It's a big call by Pekerman and he's got it wrong."

Pekerman took over as Argentina coach in September 2004, having previously led the Under-20 side to three World Youth Championships.

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