Argentine upset of France kicks off rugby World Cup
Sep 8, 2007, 5:16 GMT
Paris - The 2007 Rugby World Cup opened late Friday with a major upset as Argentina stunned hosts France 17-12 at the Stade de France outside Paris.
The Pumas scored the only try of the lacklustre match, fittingly after one of France's many errant passes led to a swift counterattack that ended when fullback Ignacio Corleto touched down in the 28th minute.
The French threatened to score only once the entire match, but they were repeatedly unable to pierce the tough Argentine defence from 1 metre out.
Despite their mediocre performance, France might still have snatched a lucky victory if not for some awful kicking in the second half.
First, fly half David Skrela missed a straight-forward penalty from about 25 metres, and then his replacement, Frederic Michalak, shanked another penalty from the right. Skrela did convert four penalties to account for all of France's points.
For the victors, Felipe Contepomi converted four first-half penalties, but he missed two kicks in the dying minutes that would have allowed his side to breathe more easily.
Argentina now looks a good bet to advance to the quarter-finals of the tournament for the first time in its history, while France must still beat a tough Irish side to have any hope of advancing from Pool D.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur