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Russia plan squad purge for World Cup

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By ESPN Staff

Diego Maradona 'a jinx on Argentina'

Julio Grondona, the president of the Argentine Football Federation, described Diego Maradona as "a jinx" after the team's last-ditch 1-0 victory over a stubborn Iran in Belo Horizonte.

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With minutes remaining at the Mineirao Stadium and the game goalless, Maradona, who had been watching the game with his daughter Gianina, left his seat.

Moments later, Lionel Messi conjured up a spectacular strike to ensure that Argentina went through to the round of 16 and AS reported Gronodo as saying: "When the jinx left, we won the game."

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Maradona had been unable to watch Argentina's opening group match, a 2-1 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Maracana, because he was unable to gain access to the stadium.

The ex-Argentina player and coach claimed he had been refused access by FIFA officials -- but world football's governing body denied that claim.

Maradona told Argentinian channel TyC Sports: "I was not allowed to go in to the game, so I had to return to the hotel to see the second half. I did everything I could, but they would not let us in. Someone just said no, it could not happen.

FIFA's head of media Delia Fischer said: "'Maybe he went somewhere where he didn't have the necessary access, but we have no record of it."

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