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Argentina Soccer Association Fires Diego Maradona

German fans hold a banner reading ‘Bye Maradona’ (Argentina’s coach Diego Maradona) after Germany defeated Argentina 4-0 in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinal match held at Green Point stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, on July 3, 2010.

July 27, 2010

July 27 (KATAKAMI / Bloomberg) — Argentina’s soccer association won’t renew Diego Maradona’s contract as coach of the national team, spokesman Ernesto Cherquis Bialo told reporters in Buenos Aires.

Sergio Batista, the coach of the Argentine youth team, has been named interim coach and will head the squad for an August 11 friendly against Ireland in Dublin, Cherquis Bialo told reporters today in Buenos Aires.

Differences between Maradona and Julio Grondona, the president of the soccer association, “were impossible to resolve,” Cherquis Bialo said. Maradona, 49, said on Argentine television this week that he wouldn’t continue in the post if the association insisted on making changes to his coaching staff.

Maradona, who won the 1986 World Cup as a player alongside Batista, took charge of the national side in late 2008. Under his leadership, Argentina lost six matches in 2009, the first time since 1919 that it had so many defeats in a single year.

Argentina was knocked out of the World Cup last month when it lost 4-0 to Germany. The quarter-final defeat was the biggest in the tournament for the two-time title winners in 36 years. Argentina finished in fifth position, its best result since losing the 1990 world cup final.

His second goal as captain against England in the 1986 tournament was chosen as the best-ever in a survey by the international football federation, known as FIFA. He dubbed his first goal of that match, which was punched in with his fist, the “Hand of God.”

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