Argentina crashes out of World Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Two-time champion Argentina have crashed out of the World Cup after drawing 1-1 with Sweden.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Miyagi, Japan:

Two-time champions Argentina followed in France's footsteps, crashing out of the World Cup after drawing 1-1 with Sweden in Group F. The Swedes are now through to the second round. Anders Svensson gave Sweden the lead on a free kick in the 59th minute, driving the ball in over the defensive wall and past the right hand of goalkeeper Pablo Cavallero. Hernan Crespo equalized in the 88th minute on a rebound after goalkeeper Magnus Hedman blocked Ariel Ortega's penalty kick. Sweden made a change at the start of the second half, with Daniel Andersson of Venezia replacing Marcus Allback up front, but it was Argentina which had the first chance soon after the restart. Ortega's pass out wide found Batistuta, but the Roma striker mis-hit his shot as it flashed well wide of Hedman's left-hand post. Argentina again went close in the 53rd minute, but Javier Zanetti's ball to the far post was too far ahead of Batistuta. A right-wing attack followed next with Ortega and Zanetti combining, resulting in a low ball into the area, which Jakobsson again dealt with efficiently as he side-footed out for a corner. In the 55th minute, Svensson fired a free kick from 30 metres wide of the post, and Argentina's defense struggled to get to grips with the runs of Swedish striker Henrik Larsson. Argentina, though, again had a chance. But Batistuta, well placed in front of goal, mistimed his jump following an inswinging cross from Javier Zanetti. Sweden made the breakthrough after Matias Almeyda committed an unnecessary foul on Anders Svensson. He got up and struck a curling free kick into the top left hand corner past the desperate lunge of Pablo Cavallero. Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa threw on Juan Sebastian Veron and Kily Gonzalez in a desperate bid to get back into the game. But the Argentines only got one goal, when Ortega was tackled in the box by Mattias Jonsson and Crespo tapped in a rebound after the penalty, taken by Ortega, bounced off Hedman. Sweden spent a frantic final few minutes pegged back in its penalty box. Ortega was testing Sweden's defense with some fine runs and Aimar came close with a shot that was cleared off the line. Hedman also made a great save from a drive by Javier Zanetti from the edge of the penalty area. As the final whistle went, Sweden's substitutes came running onto the pitch to embrace their teammates. Argentina's players trudged off in disbelief. Lineups:Argentina: 12-Pablo Cavallero, 4-Mauricio Pochettino, 6-Walter Samuel, 22-Jose Chamot, 3-Juan Pablo Sorin (Kily Gonzales, 63), 5-Matias Almeyda (Juan Sebastian Veron, 63), 7-Claudio Lopez, 8-Javier Zanetti, 10-Ariel Ortega, 16-Pablo Aimar, 9-Gabriel Batistuta (c) (Hernan Crespo, 58) Sweden: 1-Magnus Hedman, 2-Olof Mellberg, 15-Andreas Jakobsson, 16-Teddy Lucic, 4-Johan Mjallby (c), 6-Tobias Linderoth, 7-Niclas Alexandersson, 8-Anders Svensson (Mattias Jonson, 68) 17-Magnus Svensson, 10-Marcus Allback (Patrik Andersson, 46), 11-Henrik Larsson Referee: Ali Bujsaim (United Arab Emirates)

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