Paraguay to clash with Argentina in soccer finale

Argentina will meet Paraguay in an all-South American Olympic final. Argentina outplayed Italy 3-0 in the semifinal while Paraguay ended Iraq's heroic run with a 3-1 win.
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Published on Aug 25, 2004 03:04 AM IST
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PTI | ByRobert Millward (AP), Athens

Argentina will meet Paraguay in an all-South American Olympic final. Hot favorite Argentina outplayed Italy 3-0 in Tuesday's semifinal while Paraguay ended Iraq's heroic run with a 3-1 win.

Roared on by some 1,000 noisy fans in Thessaloniki, Iraq had high hopes of reaching the Olympic final to try and lift a nation torn apart by the horrific daily bombings and shootings back home. But two first-half goals by Jose Cardozo and a second-half strike by Fredy Bareiro meant Paraguay was already 3-0 ahead by the time Razzaq Farhan replied for the Iraqis eight minutes from the end. Cardozo now has five goals and Bareiro has scored four in his last three games.

Tuesday's victory guarantees Paraguay its first Olympic medal of any kind and it will be silver at least while Iraq faces Italy for the bronze at Thessaloniki on Friday.

Argentina reached the gold medal game without conceding a goal. Boca Juniors striker Carlos Tevez put the hot favorite South Americans on the road to the Olympic Stadium with his seventh goal of the campaign in the 16th minute.

Luis Gonzalez and Mariano Gonzalez, who plays in Italy for Palermo, added two more goals in the second half before a near full house of 30,910 at Athens' Karaiskaki Stadium.

A two-time runner up, Argentina has scored 16 goals without reply in five games at this tournament and will be an overwhelming favorite to win its first soccer gold medal.

Only Spain 12 years ago reached the final without conceding a goal and went on to win the title by beating Poland 3-2 in the final at Barcelona.

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