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Gentile laments poor preparation for soccer loss

Italy coach Claudio Gentile said his football team's poor preparation played a major part in their crushing 3-0 Olympic semifinal defeat to Argentina.
By Stefano Blin (AFP) | PTI, Athens
PUBLISHED ON AUG 25, 2004 01:24 PM IST

Italy coach Claudio Gentile said his football team's poor preparation played a major part in their crushing 3-0 Olympic semifinal defeat to Argentina.

The former international hardman admitted the more experienced South Americans were technically superior, but insisted the scoreline might have been closer if he had been able to spend more time with his players.

"Of course they were better than us, but you have to remember that my team's last competitive match before coming to the Olympics was on June 8," said the man who guided the side to success at this year's under-21 European championships in Germany.

"Argentina, on the other hand, have played in the Copa America and that's why we weren't as fit as them.

"It's a bitter disappointment, but we can take some consolation from our performances here and hold our heads high.

"We played the game in the right spirit, but we made far too many mistakes."

Gentile refused to pin the blame on defender Daniel Bonera, who was brutally exposed by Argentina's quick forwards.

"Anyone can have a bad day, we are not robots," he said.

Argentina coach Marcelo Bielsa ducked questions about whether he thought Italy looked ill-prepared.

"That is not for me to say," he said diplomatically.

The dangerous Carlos Tevez, who will surely be lured away from Boca Juniors by one of the top European clubs in the near future, opened the scoring in the 16th minute, cashing in on Matteo Ferrari's mistake by rifling home from 12 yards.

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