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Updated: Wednesday June 12, 2002 07:30 AM ET
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Sweden 1, Argentina 1
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MIYAGI, Japan (Ticker) -- Sweden won Group F with a 1-1 draw against Argentina, the one-time favorite which was eliminated from the 2002 World Cup.

The Argentines were sent packing just a day after defending champion France also exited the tournament in embarrassing fashion, failing to score in three matches.

Argentina put pressure on Sweden in the closing minutes, scoring the tying goal in the 88th minute. Substitute Hernan Crespo put home the rebound off a penalty kick by Ariel Ortega, which was saved by goalkeeper Magnus Hedman.

Sweden took the lead through Anders Svensson from a well-struck free kick after 59 minutes.

"This is the biggest thing I've experienced as a footballer," Svensson said. "When I saw the ball go in, I went crazy. It feels fantastic."

The Swedes had done virtually nothing offensively up to that point. Svensson had another long-range effort four minutes earlier, but it sailed wide.

Sweden won the so-called "Group of Death" with five points and in the second round takes on Senegal, the second-place finisher in Group A. England also advanced from this group and faces Denmark in the last 16.

Argentina started the game in more convincing fashion, knowing it needed a victory to advance. Midfielder Juan Sorin had three headed chances during a six-minute span. Sorin was left unmarked in the middle on his first opportunity in the 14th minute, but his shot was parried aside easily by Hedman.

Claudio Lopez got his boot on Javier Zanetti's cross, but the forward hit the side of the net. Zanetti was on target with a drive of his own late in the second half, but again Hedman was there.

"It showed the players' character and goalkeeper Magnus Hedman made some good saves," Sweden co-coach Lars Lagerback said. "We had a bit of luck today, but that's football."

Argentina clearly showed more initiative, outshooting Sweden 14-5 and recording a 13-3 edge on corner kicks.

"Argentina had a lot of scoring chances, but our defense was good and we stopped them," Arsenal's Fredrik Ljungberg said.

The match also featured the unusual. Referee Ali Bujsaim of the United Arab Emirates showed Argentine substitute Claudio Caniggia a red card two minutes into first-half stoppage time while the veteran forward was on the bench.

The 35-year-old, who has not played at all at this World Cup, voiced his displeasure regarding the official's decision to penalize one of his teammates. Caniggia was sent to the dressing room.

Caniggia, who has tallied 16 goals in 50 appearances for his country, also was suspended at the 1990 World Cup and Wednesday's less-than desirable incident brings to a close his international career.

Argentina failed to advance from opening-round group play for the first time since 1962 in Chile. The Argentines' World Cup record dropped to 30-19-11 all-time.

"We were looking forward to winning, we did everything we possibly could," Argentina striker Gabriel Batistuta said. "I dreamed of a different end. The time is over and the pain is double."

"Batigol," Argentina's all-time leading scorer, likely played in his last World Cup. The 34-year-old Batistuta is one of just nine players to collect at least 10 all-time goals in World Cup play.

 


 
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