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31st Minute, Esteban Cambiasso, Argentina v Serbia and Montenegro


After their surprise early exit in the 2002 World Cup, Argentina were more desperate than ever to win football’s greatest prize for a third time.  In their opening match against Ivory Coast they started slowly and were fortunate to win after Ivory Coast had impressed in the opening exchanges.

Their second match was against Serbia and Montenegro who had lost their opening game to the Netherlands. This time there was no slow start from Argentina as they dominated the game from the off. Maxi Rodriguez put them one up after just six minutes and with playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme as their architect the Argentines were looking unstoppable. Just after the half an hour mark they doubled their advantage.

The Goal

A beautiful twenty-four pass move is cooly finished off by Esteban Cambiasso for one of the greatest World Cup goals ever…


What Happened Next?

Argentina added four more goals without reply including one from a young Lionel Messi but they didn’t find the net once against the Netherlands in their final group match. They had done enough to top the group though and in the second round their had to come from behind to beat Mexico in extra-time. A superb volley from Maxi Rodriguez making the difference.

Their quarter final was a tense affair against the hosts where Argentina’s coach Jose Pekerman had to take the blame when he took off the influential and creative Juan Roman Riquelme with Argentina 1-0 up and a quarter of the game remaining. Germany equalised minutes later and Argentina found it difficult to create again. The match went to extra time and penalties which the Germans duly won 4-2.


Argentine coverage of the goal…

Diagram in The Guardian of the goal…

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