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Argentina defeats Italy to enter soccer finals

Argentina defeated Italy 3-0 in the men's Olympic soccer semifinals and will play for its first gold medal against either Iranq or Paraguay on Saturday.
By Andrew Dampf (AP) | PTI, Athens
PUBLISHED ON AUG 24, 2004 11:14 PM IST

Argentina defeated Italy 3-0 in the men's Olympic soccer semifinals on Tuesday and will play for its first gold medal in South America's favorite sport.
 
Budding star Carlos Tevez scored his seventh goal in five matches to give Argentina the lead in the 16th minute. River Plate's Luis Gonzalez doubled the tally in the 69th and second-half substitute Mariano Gonzalez put the game out of reach six minutes from the end.

The South Americans, who have now outscored the opposition 16-0 in five matches, forced the play from start to finish, while the Italians resorted to their now familiar defensive tactics and occasional counterattacks.

Sentimental favorite Iraq was to play Paraguay in the other semifinal later on Tuesday, with the winner to meet Argentina in Saturday morning's final at the main Olympic Stadium. Italy meets the loser in the bronze medal match.

Andres D'Alessandro and Luis Gonzalez combined to start the play that led to Argentina's first goal.

Tevez, the 20-year-old Boca Juniors centreforward, then used an acrobatic maneuver to knock in a bouncing ball from 12 meters (yards). There was nothing Italy and AS Roma goalkeeper Ivan Pelizzoli could do as the ball rocketed into the corner of the net. Afterward, Tevez and his two teammates on the play broke out into a dancing celebration, arm in arm.

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