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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | SOCCER

Argentine Men Reach the Finals

July 31, 1996|Times Wire Services

Half of the gold-medal final was set Tuesday in Athens, Ga., when Hernan Crespo's two second-half goals helped Argentina cruise to a 2-0 victory over Portugal.

Crespo, a striker headed for Italy's Parma team next season, headed in a crossing past to give Argentina a 1-0 lead in the 56th minute, then fired home a low 18-yard shot six minutes later.

Argentina will play either Brazil or Nigeria, who play in Athens today, for the gold medal.

Portugal's Vidigal hit the post and Nuno Gomes was foiled by a reflex-action save by Argentina's goalkeeper, Pablo Cavallero, near the end of the game, that was witnessed by 78,212, some of them Argentines who tried to get the U.S. fans involved by chanting "U-S-A, U-S-A."

Argentina's coach, Daniel Passarella, was not happy about the way his team finished the game, largely celebrating early.

"In the last 10 minutes I got a little angry with the players for not doing the things that they ought to have done," Passarella said. "But in the first 75, 80 minutes, they were excellent."

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