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Argentina beats courageous England 4-3 in penalty kicks.

By Paul Oberjuerge
Gannett News Service

ST. ETIENNE, France (Tuesday, June 30, 1998) -- In 1986, it was the Hand of God. In 1998, it was the Hands of Roa.

David Batty's shootout penalty kick was knocked down by goalkeeper Carlos Roa as Argentina defeated courageous England 4-3 in penalty kicks today to advance to the World Cup quarterfinals, with the Netherlands the next foe Saturday.

The powerhouse teams played to a 2-2 tie over 120 minutes. "It's a bitter, bitter pill to take, again," England coach Glenn Hoddle said.

He was on the field in 1986 when Diego Maradona knocked a decisive shot into the goal with his hand to lead Argentina to a quarterfinal win in Mexico City and said he never has come fully to terms with that defeat.

"There is no doubt this was the toughest game of the second round," Argentina coach Daniel Passarella said. "England played their normal way, with lots of character."

Argentina's fifth penalty-kick shooter, sweeper Roberto Ayala, broke a 3-3 tie by putting his shot into the lower-right corner.

That left it up to Batty, a 97th-minute substitute, to force a tie and go to the sixth round. His shot was poor -- chest-high and barely to the right of Roa, who knocked it down easily.

Hernan Crespo earlier missed for Argentina, Paul Ince for England. Alan Shearer, Paul Merson and Michael Owen scored for England in the shootout. Sergio Berti, Juan Veron, Marcelo Gallardo and Ayala converted for Argentina.

"I don't know if it was destiny, but everything seemed to go against us," Hoddle said. "But it's not a night for excuses."

England played from the 46th minute with only 10 men after midfielder David Beckham was sent off for kicking Argentina's Diego Simeone in full view of Danish referee Kim Milton Nielsen. He had been tackled by Simeone, who received a yellow card. "It cost us, it cost us dearly," Hoddle said. "But even with 10 men we defended like lions. We had enough set pieces to give them trouble."

England, which did not qualify for the 1994 World Cup, also went out on penalty kicks against Germany in the 1990 semifinals.

Argentina rarely took advantage of its superiority in numbers. The closest either team came to scoring after halftime was in the 82nd minute when England's Sol Campbell put a header into the net, a shot negated by an elbowing foul by Shearer on Roa.

The game was the last, but most eagerly anticipated, in the second round, pitting nations that went to war in 1982 over the Falkland Islands. They have rich soccer histories.

The first half was an orgy of goals and a stage for the two smallest men on the field -- England's 18-year-old prodigy, Owen, and Argentina's playmaker, Ariel Ortega.

Argentina took a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute on a penalty. England goalkeeper David Seaman took down Simeone as he made a diagonal run in the box. Seaman got his hands on Gabriel Batitusta's penalty shot but the ball continued to the back of the net.

Owen, 5-foot-8 and an alleged 140 pounds, energized England just minutes later, catching up to a looping pass from midfielder Paul Scholes and charging down the field. He showed the wiles of a veteran in just his seventh international appearance as he flopped in the box after slight contact from Argentina sweeper Ayala, and referee Nielsen immediately pointed to the penalty spot.

Shearer drilled the penalty shot into the upper-left corner, his third goal of the competition.

Owen put England ahead with the kind of goal not usually associated with British Isles soccer. Beckham knocked a pass ahead to the youngsters that he pushed forward with his outside foot, and carried with him on a feverish sprint, leaving defender Jose Chamot in his wake.

Owen encountered Ayala at the top of the box, and pushed the ball past him as he angled to his right. He caught up to the ball to the right about 15 yards from the goal, and angled a right-footed shot into the left corner, beyond the reach of Roa.

Argentina, directed cleverly throughout by Ortega, got even again, just before halftime. It started when defender Campbell dragged down Claudio Lopez just outside the box.

Batistuta lined up for the direct kick, confronting a five-man England wall. But instead of shooting, as he had done from the same spot earlier in the half, he ran forward and stepped over the ball. Veron came from the left and tapped it softly to the right of the wall, where Javier Zanetti was standing unmarked after stealthfully slipping out of the wall and drifting behind it while England slept.

Zanetti trapped the pass with his right foot and drilled the ball into the far corner with his left, and it was tied one minute into extra time. "We had practiced a long time on that deadball situation, and it worked out very, very well," Passarella said.

Paul Oberjuerge writes for the San Bernardino County (Calif.) Sun.

Round of 16

Argentina 2, England 2 (Argentina wins in penalty kicks 4-3)
in St. Etienne

Argentina -- Carlos Roa, Nelson Vivas, Roberto Ayala, Jose Chamot, Javier Zanetti, Matias Almeyda, Juan Veron, Ariel Ortega, Diego Simeone (Sergio Berti 92), Gabriel Batistuta (Hernan Crespo 69), Claudio Lopez (Marcelo Gallardo 69).
England -- David Seaman, Gary Neville, Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, Darren Anderton (David Batty 98), David Beckham, Paul Ince, Paul Scholes (Paul Merson 79), Graeme Le Saux (Gareth Southgate 71), Michael Owen, Alan Shearer.

Goals: Argentina - Gabriel Batistuta 6 (penalty kick), Javier Zanetti 45; England - Alan Shearer 10 (penalty kick), Michael Owen 16.
Penalty-kick tiebreaker: Argentina - Sergio Berti (goal), Hernan Crespo (no goal), Juan Veron (goal), Marcelo Gallardo (goal), Roberto Ayala (goal). England - Alan Shearer (goal), Paul Ince (no goal), Paul Merson (goal), Michael Owen (goal), David Batty (no goal).
Shots at goal: Argentina 28, England 20.
Shots on goal: Argentina 5, England 6.
Fouls: Argentina 29, England 13.
Offsides: Argentina 6, England 1.
Yellow cautionary cards: England - David Seaman 5, Paul Ince 10. Argentina - Juan Veron 44, Diego Simeone 47, Matias Almeyda 73, Carlos Roa 121 (during tiebreaker).
Red expulsion card: England - David Beckham 47.
Attendance: 36,000 (estimated).
Referee: Kim Nielsen (Denmark).