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Argentina moves into title game

Argentina has been one of the world's great soccer powers, except at the Olympics.

Maybe that's about to change.

Argentina, a World Cup winner in 1978 and '86, moved into the final for the first time since 1928 when Hernan Crespo scored two second-half goals for a 2-0 semifinal victory over Portugal on Tuesday.

Coach Daniel Passarella, star defender on Argentina's 1978 Cup-winning team, chose not to single out any player _ not even Crespo _ and wouldn't say whether he prefers to play Brazil or Nigeria (who meet today) in Saturday's final.

But he did have something to say about his team's final 10 minutes, when Argentina almost let Portugal back into the game.

"In the last 10 minutes I got a little angry with the players for not doing the things that they ought to have done," Passarella said. "But in the first 75, 80 minutes, they were excellent."

Crespo, a lanky striker set to play for Italy's Parma next season, headed home a crossing pass to give Argentina the lead in the 56th minute.

Six minutes later, he fired a low 18-yard shot for the second goal.

Portugal's Vidigal hit the goalpost and Nuno Gomes was foiled by a reflex-action save by Argentina's goalkeeper, Pablo Cavallero, near the end.

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