Argentine fans disheartened with performance

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Argentina fans dealt a big blow after the two-time World Cup champions followed in France's footsteps and crashed out of the World Cup.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Buenos Aires:

Argentine fans were dealt a big blow today after the two-time World Cup champions followed in France's footsteps and crashed out of the World Cup. It began as a fiesta in Argentina and then ended in tears after the Argentines drew 1-1 with Sweden in Group F, sending the Swedes into the second round. Legions of drowsy Argentine fans skipped sleep and stayed awake for the pre-dawn broadcast of the big game half a world away. It was a 'must-win' game for Argentina, which would be eliminated in the first round if it failed to beat Sweden. A bruising 1-0 English victory meant Argentines had to tune in on Wednesday. Argentina had not failed to qualify for the second round since 1962. Supporters gathered in bars in the capital of Buenos Aires wielding flags, hats and scarves to cheer the pre-tournament favourite on. But tensions began to mount as goals failed to materialise. One woman held a bible throughout - but this did not produce the much-needed miracle. Although they dominated the first half and looked on course to get the three points they needed to qualify for the second round, Argentina eventually had to accept the 1-1 draw as their fate. With a series of near misses the final whistle was blown and Argentina's players faced the imminent journey home in disbelief. Fans threw down their game caps and held their heads in their hands as they tried to swallow the loss. "This is a ridiculous ending to this film which we could never have imagined. The truth is that the match against England was the anticipated end. And just like boxers, after falling with England, it's easier to fall, to get knocked," remarked Orestes Katorozs, a dejected fan. (SNTV)

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