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Belarus draw at home with Argentina

SoccerNews in World Cup 20 Aug 2008

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Two-time world champions Argentina and the former Soviet republic Belarus recorded a 0-0 draw in the first ever meeting between the two countries here on Wednesday.

Argentina looked slightly more focused throughout the match, which took place at the 40-000-seater Dynamo Minsk stadium, but failed to boost their morale with a win ahead of a 2010 World Cup qualifier against Paraguay at Buenos Aires on September 6.

Paraguay lead the South American 2010 World Cup qualifying tournament with 13 points from six matches, two points ahead of second-placed Argentina.

Argentinian manager Alfio Basile, who looked obviously upset with the result failed to show up at the news conference after the match.

In the first half, both teams served up dull football until the 40th minute, when Argentina, World Cup winners in 1978 and 1986, created a couple of chances for an opening goal.

Manchester United ace Carlos Tevez had a clear chance after a piece of good individual work but his unopposed eight-metre shot was parried by Belarus' goalkeeper Yury Zhevnov.

German Denis also had a clear opportunity in injury time but his close-range shot could only hit the crossbar.

After the break, both teams were still battling for the initiative in the centre of the pitch and managed to create only a few unimpressive threats to each other's net and thus failed to break the deadlock.

The Belarus manager Bernd Stange said he was in general satisfied with the result achieved by his players against strong opponents, adding however that there were no reasons for euphoria.

“We wanted to win the match and worked a lot to clinch the win,” he said. “But all was in vain.”

“Of course a draw with one of the world's best football teams is a positive result but there's no reason for euphoria. It's only a draw. We still need to work hard to achieve something serious.”

Belarus were drawn with Croatia, England, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Andorra in the 2010 World Cup European qualifying Group Six, starting with a game against former compatriots Ukraine at Lviv on September 6.

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