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Football: world cup - Cursed by hand of God.

ARGENTINA may never win another World Cup because of a curse laid on them by the people of a small Mexican town.

In 1986 the Argies trained for several weeks in Tilcara, a sleepy hamlet in the Andes near the border with Bolivia, to prepare for the high altitude in Mexico City.

The team and boss Carlos Bilardo also prayed in front of the Virgin of Copacabana, asking for strength to win the World Cup.

The coach promised that if they won football's greatest prize the team would return to the town to give thanks for their help.

Argentina did win, beating Germany 3-2 in the final after disposing of England in the quarter-finals thanks to Diego Maradona's Hand of God goal.

But it seems Argentina never returned to keep their promise.

And the people of Tilcara are out to make sure they will be stuck forever on two World Cup wins.

They have laid a curse on the Argies saying the deception means they'll never lift it again. Julio Humberto Grondona, president of the Argentine FA, and other team officials went to Tilcara to check out the claim.

But Bilardo insists he did return to the town - on a private visit that went unnoticed.

The former Argentina boss said: "They are all lies, lies. When I make a promise I keep it."

Bilardo said the only promise he had yet to fulfill was returning to give thanks at the foot of another religious shrine near Buenos Aires.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 4, 2006
Words:257
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