Then it was the Hand of God goal from Diego Maradona that scuppered England. Yesterday in the Larkin Stadium in the second round of the Coca-Cola World Youth Cup, it was faulty passing that undermined England's attempt to remove the holders, who now go on to face their high-scoring South American neighbours from Brazil. "We gave the ball away needlessly," the England manager, Ted Powell, said.
Forks of lightning flashed in the distance as Argentina took a decisive grip in the early stages. Lightning was certainly not the name of England's game, as one move after another foundered on a misplaced pass.
Typical was the wretched ball out of defence from the captain, John Curtis, that put Pablo Aimar in possession. That ninth-minute error was compounded by Mark Jackson's rash challenge. Down in a theatrical tumble went the Argentinian and down, too, to no avail, went David Lucas as Roman Riquelme sent him the wrong way with the penalty.
Curtis atoned by blocking a drive by Aimar and with a stirring tackle on the same 17-year-old, who has assumed the burden of being the "new Maradona". But neither Curtis nor his outstanding Manchester United club- mate, Ronnie Wallwork, could get close enough to Aimar or Bernardo Romeo during a dazzling double exchange of passes. England were carved wide open and Aimar sidefooted the ball in off a post.
Jackson, who had been delegated to escort Aimar, took time off to come agonisingly close with a header from a Jody Morris free-kick but it was not until Morris stepped aside to let Ritchie Humphreys loft over another free-kick in the 48th minute that England profited. Jamie Carragher's reward for an impressive contribution to England's midfield was to find himself unmarked for a header that belatedly made a game of it.
ENGLAND (4-4-2): Lucas (Preston); Dyer (Ipswich), Wallwork (Manchester United), Curtis (Man United), Crowe (Arsenal); Jackson (Leeds); Murphy (Crewe), Carragher (Liverpool), Morris (Chelsea); Owen (Liverpool), Humphreys (Sheffield Wednesday). Substitute: Euell (Wimbledon) for Humphreys, 80).
ARGENTINA (1-2-4-2-1): Munoz (Sarmiento); Cufre (Esgrima LP); Serrizuela (Lanus), Samuel (Newell Old Boys); Riquelme (Boca Juniors), Markic (Argentina Juniors), Cambiasso (Real Madrid), Placente (Argentina Juniors); Aimar (River Plate), Quintana (Newell Old Boys); Romeo (Estudiantes). Substitutes: Cubero (Velez Sarsfield) for Cambiasso, 81); Perezlindo (Union Santa Fe) for Aimar, 85.
Referee: S Piller (Hungary).Reuse content