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Page last updated at 06:48 GMT, Saturday, 23 August 2008 07:48 UK

Argentina brave heat to take gold

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Video - Argentina defend football gold

Argentina retained their Olympic men's football title as they overcame the heat to beat Nigeria 1-0 in the Bird's Nest stadium.

Benfica striker Angel di Maria's neat chip after 58 minutes was enough to give the Argentines victory.

Nigeria had their fair share of chances, but were unable to beat goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

Play was stopped twice to allow players to take on water to deal with the searing 42C (107F) heat.

Striker Lionel Messi put di Maria through on goal, after freeing himself from some tight Nigerian marking.

They said play the game at noon which I don't think was a good idea

Nigeria coach Samson Siasia
Nigeria were attempting to repeat their 1996 Olympic victory over Argentina, but despite some early solid defending could not keep Messi at bay.

"Maybe the heat was a factor," said Argentina coach Sergio Batista. "I think it the game had been played in another part of the day it would have been very different.

"We tried to make sure that we didn't get uptight, just to play our own game. We wanted to play with intelligence and move the ball around and not run around so much. We wanted the ball to do the work."

Nigeria coach Samson Siasia was critical of the decision to play the game in the middle of the day.

"No team has actually played at noon since we started this tournament," said Siasia. "It affected both countries and most players didn't perform to their level because of the heat.

"But we didn't make the rules. They said play the game at noon which I don't think was a good idea.

"We had a lot of chances on goal, but you have to score goals to win gold medals. After gold, I think silver is not bad. Look at Brazil, they came third."

Brazil took the bronze medal on Friday, strolling to a 3-0 win over Belgium.

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Football medals table

Sunday, 24 August 2008 10:17 UK
Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze TOTAL
1 also show each event results forArgentina 1 0 0 1
Men 1 0 0
2 also show each event results forUSA 1 0 0 1
Women 1 0 0
3 also show each event results forBrazil 0 1 1 2
Men 0 0 1
Women 0 1 0
4 also show each event results forNigeria 0 1 0 1
Men 0 1 0
5 also show each event results forGermany 0 0 1 1
Women 0 0 1

see also
Messi makes the difference
23 Aug 08 |  African
Dangerous heat for Olympic final
23 Aug 08 |  African
Ronaldinho leads Brazil to bronze
22 Aug 08 |  Football
Argentina knock out rivals Brazil
19 Aug 08 |  Football
BBC Olympics blog
15 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Beijing 2008
14 Feb 08 |  Olympics

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