Tevez's golden boot inspires Argentina

Argentina 1 - Paraguay 0

He was born in Buenos Aires, plays for Boca Juniors and wears Argentina's No 10 shirt. He is short, squat and deceptively fast. He has an eye for goal, subtle ball skills and the knack of finding the net in major tournaments. For the sake of his future health, you can only hope that the similarities between Carlos Tevez and Diego Maradona end there.

He was born in Buenos Aires, plays for Boca Juniors and wears Argentina's No 10 shirt. He is short, squat and deceptively fast. He has an eye for goal, subtle ball skills and the knack of finding the net in major tournaments. For the sake of his future health, you can only hope that the similarities between Carlos Tevez and Diego Maradona end there.

Tevez, 20, has been one of the outstanding players in the Olympic football tournament and it was fitting that he should score the winner in yesterday's final in the Olympic Stadium, reinforcing his position as the competition's top scorer with eight goals.

It was a classic poacher's strike. When Mauro Rosales crossed from the right after 18 minutes, either Diego Barreto, Paraguay's goalkeeper, or one of two defenders, Julio Manzur and Carlos Gamarra, seemed certain to reach the ball first. Tevez, however, darted between all three of them and turned the ball into the net. You can be sure that Europe's top clubs, including plenty from the Premiership, were watching with interest.

This was Argentina's first Olympic gold medal in any sport since 1952 and the stature of the three over-aged players they selected - Valencia's Roberto Ayala, Manchester United's Gabriel Heinze and Intenazionale's Kily Gonzalez - showed how seriously they took the tournament. All played key parts in yesterday's victory and their experience helped to bring the best out of the rest of the team, who under Olympic rules have to be aged 23 or under.

Andres D'Alessandro showed great vision in midfield, Fabricio Coloccini demonstrated the benefits of his experience in Spain and Italy, while Rosales was a constant thorn in Paraguay's left side. Argentina should have won by a much clearer margin, a lack of composure in front of goal being their only weakness. Luis Gonzalez blazed over the bar from 12 yards, Rosales hit the outside of a post with a free header and Tevez wasted at least three more good opportunities.

While their willingness to attack was a joy to watch, what was equally pleasing was Argentina's lack of cynicism. The only occasion when the 41,000 crowd were less than appreciative was in injury time, when five men broke clear to face three Paraguayan defenders, only for Tevez to waste time by taking the ball wide.

Paraguay offered little other than ruthless body-checking, scything tackles and shirt-pulling. Gamarra was lucky not to be sent off for a blatant elbow in Tevez's face after 29 minutes and Emilio Martinez was shown a red card for the same offence midway through the second half. Diego Figueredo was sent off nine minutes from time for his second yellow card, one of seven shown to the Paraguayans.

Heinze, Manchester United's summer recruit from Paris St-Germain, played at left-back and looked assured throughout. After the medal ceremony he kissed his gold medal and pointed to the sky in tribute to his father, Jorge, who died in June. "I just wanted this medal to be for him," he said.

The defender's absence from the start of the Premiership season has infuriated Sir Alex Ferguson, who will not see his £6.9m signing for another 10 days. Heinze has flown back to Argentina for a World Cup qualifying match against Peru next Saturday, though he should be available for United's next Premiership match against Bolton Wanderers in a fortnight's time.

However, the defender refuted suggestions that he had been avoiding contact with his new employers, saying that he had been speaking to United officials "virtually every day" since the beginning of the Olympics. "I don't make the calendar," he said after yesterday's match. "Fifa and the other governing bodies arrange the games and the tournaments. All I do is play in them if selected."

Heinze said he was still feeling the pain from a pelvic injury sustained earlier in the tournament, but insisted: "I have a few niggles, like most players, but I am fit and young, so I can get through them. I don't need a rest and I'm looking forward to joining up with United."

Argentina (3-4-3): Lux (River Plate); Coloccini (Milan), Ayala (Valencia), Heinze (Manchester United); L Gonzalez (River Plate), Mascherano (River Plate), D'Alessandro (Wolfsburg), K Gonzalez (Internazionale); Rosales (Newell's Old Boys), Tevez (Boca Juniors), Delgado (Cruz Azul) (Rodriguez, Spartak Moscow, 76).

Paraguay (4-3-1-2): D Barreto (Cerro Porteno); Martinez (Libertad), Gamarra (Internazionale), (Diaz, Guarani, 62), Torres (Guarani), Manzur (Guarani); Enciso (Olimpia Assuncion), E Barreto (Nijmegen) (Cristaldo, Cerro Porteno, 72), Esquivel (San Lorenzo) (J Gonzalez, Nacional, 76); Figueredo (Valladolid); Gimenez (Guarani), Bareiro (Libertad).

Referee: K Vassaras (Greece).

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'