Argentina beat Mexico, enter final

Associated Press

Hanover, June 26:

Argentina set up a confrontation with traditional rival and World Cup holder Brazil in the final of the Confederations Cup after beating Mexico 6-5 in a penalty shootout on Sunday after a 1-1 tie.

The two South American powerhouses meet in Wednesday’s final in Frankfurt while the Mexicans face host Germany in a third-place playoff the same day in Leipzig. Brazil beat the Germans 3-2 in Nuremberg on Saturday.

Inter Milan’s Esteban Cambiasso scored the game-clinching spot kick after Ricardo Osorio was the first to miss from the spot at 5-5. Carlos Salcido scored in the 104th minute for Mexico and Luciano Figueroa scored in the 110th for Argentina.

After 90 minutes of goalless action before 40,718 fans in Hanover, Mexico took the lead in the 14th minute of extra time after Argentina’s Juan Riquelme gave the ball away with a lazy pass in an attacking position.

Salcido broke down the left to take a pass from Alberto Medina and went past two defenders. His shot struck the outstretched leg of Argentina’s Fabricio Coliccini and flew over goalkeeper German Lux.

Figueroa, who scored a hat-trick for Argentina in a 4-2 beating of Australia in a group game, levelled five minutes later when he collected a blocked shot from Maximiliano Rodriguez and his left-foot drive squeezed between the legs of goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez.

A minute from the end of normal time, Argentina’s Javier Saviola became the first player to be sent off in the eight-team competition when he was red carded for kicking Gonzalo Pineda after the ball had gone. It was the 14th game of the 16-game tournament.

He was soon followed by Mexico captain Rafael Marquez for a second yellow and extra time was played 10 a side.

Saviola was Argentina’s most effective forward with some mesmerising dribbles through the Mexican defense and the AS Monaco forward set up a chance for Juan Sorin a minute before the halftime break. With goalkeeper Sanchez caught out of position, Sorin’s lob from the left was cleared off the line by Gonzalo Pineda.

Mexico’s Brazilian-born midfielder Zinha cut inside from the right and fired a left-footed drive from 18 meters that beat Lux but hit the post.