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Thursday, 9 May, 2002, 21:26 GMT 22:26 UK
Argentina 'retire' Maradona's shirt
Diego Maradona
In Argentinian minds, the number 10 means Maradona
Argentina will head to the World Cup without a Number 10 shirt after football officials decided to "retire" the number in honour of Diego Maradona.

The Argentine Football Association says the shirt number will never be worn again.

Fifa opposed the idea when it was put forward last year, but AFA president Julio Grondona has apparently now received permission from Josep Blatter, president of the the world governing body.

Open Quote
It's OK by me, I don't care because it is Diego's number
Close Quote
Ariel Ortega

The idea to retire the shirt, in the manner of sports in the United States, was proposed last November when Maradona took part in a farewell match at Boca Juniors' La Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires.

"It's OK by me, I don't care because it is Diego's number," Ariel Ortega, the last Argentine player to wear the number, said .

In Buenos Aires, Maradona told sports daily Ole that he was "very happy".

He dedicated the shirt to the "fans and to those who thought it was impossible".

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GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1

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