Soccer  > World Cup  > Argentina, disputed goal send Mexico home
June 28, 2010, 10:24 AM
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Mexico surrendered a disputed goal midway through the first half and never fully recovered, losing 3-1 to Argentina on Sunday to exit the World Cup in the second round for the fifth consecutive time.

Carlos Tevez was credited with his second goal of the tournament in the 26th minute -- a score that television replays showed the Manchester City striker more than two meters offside -- to shake the composure of El Tri that it never fully regained.

Mexican defender Ricardo Osorio, who replaced Hector Moreno in the starting lineup, gave away a ball just outside his own penalty area seven minutes later that resulted in a tournament-leading fourth goal for Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain and all but sealed the result.

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez scored his second goal of the tournament in the 71st to provide some hope for Mexico, which many observers considered the most talented in a generation.

El Tri has reached the quarterfinals twice, both times when it hosted the tournament in 1970 and 1986, but advanced no further. It was the second straight time Mexico had been eliminated by Los Albicelestes, who won 2-1 in extra time in the second round in 2006.

The result eliminated the last team from CONCACAF, sending Mexico home along with the United States - which was beaten by Ghana on Saturday in extra time, and Honduras which failed to get past the first round. Argentina next will play Germany on Friday in the quarterfinals.

Manager Javier Aguirre altered his offensive front, and Mexico created the best chances early. Left back Carlos Salcido launched a blast from 40 meters that slipped through the hands of Argentine keeper Sergio Mendoza but crashed off the crossbar in the eighth minute.

A half minute later Andres Guardado unleashed a right-footed shot from near the top of the area that curled wide of the left post.

Still without the injured Carlos Vela, Aguirre sat Guillermo Franco and instead inserted Adolfo Bautista - who had not played in the first round -- and gave Chicharito his first start. Bautista lasted only 45 minutes, replaced by Pablo Barrera at halftime.

Argentina eventually began to control the possession and went ahead when Messi rolled a ball into the area that Mexican keeper Oscar Perez raced off his line to reach before a streaking Tevez could. The ball rebounded back to Messi, who sent it toward goal a second time.

Tevez was standing three yards from the line and nodded it in with his forehead, drawing howls of protest from Mexico, who surrounded Italian referee Roberto Rosetti and his linesman on the far touchline.

The goal appeared to unnerve Mexico, which surrendered a second goal when Osorio appeared to be attempting a pass across the top of his own penalty area to Francisco Rodriguez. Osorio hit the ball weakly, allowing Higuain to rush in and easily beat Perez.

The second half was more even in possession, but Argentina added further insurance in the 52nd when Tevez ran on to a loose ball 25 meters out and blasted a ball just inside the right post that a diving Perez didn't come close to touching.

Mexico rallied with a flurry of possession and chances midway through the second half. Barrerra hit a bounding shot over Mendoza that Gabriel Heinze had to clear off the line with his head in the 70th, and Chicharito finally scored when he took a touch at the top of the area, turned and beat Mendoza inside the near post a minute and a half later.

The result further extended South America's dominance of the World Cup, giving the continent its 11th victory in 16 matches with only one defeat.

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