File - The facade of Argentina's Banco Central (Central Bank) is seen in Buenos Aires June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian
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Argentina's economy is shrinking and its government is in a race against time to cut a deal staving off another painful debt default, but Argentines are finding some rare joy in their football team's ticket to the World Cup final.Argentina has twice won the World Cup, in 1978 and 1986, and its star Lionel Messi is considered by many as the best player in the world.It is a far cry from 2002, the last time the World Cup coincided with an Argentine debt crisis.Then, Argentina crashed out of the tournament in the group stage, piling misery on a football-obsessed nation of 40 million people as it suffered a record $100 billion default, the economy shrank almost 11 percent and unemployment soared.If Argentina does not clinch a deal by July 30, it will fall into its second sovereign default in 12 years.
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