Former Argentina captain Diego Maradona attended the match in Buenos Aires
Argentina’s reign as Davis Cup champions is over after less than three months following a dramatic defeat by Italy in Buenos Aires, with iconic footballer Diego Maradona watching on.
Guido Pella led Fabio Fognini by two sets to love in a deciding rubber held over to Monday because of rain as the hosts looked set to complete a remarkable comeback.
But Fognini had a final twist up his sleeve and rallied for a 2-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory to send Italy through to a quarter-final against Belgium in April.
Italy knocked defending champions Argentina out of the Davis Cup with a 3-2 win on Monday
Fabio Fognini came from two sets down to clinch victory against Guido Pella in the decider
Argentina, who won their first Davis Cup title in their fifth final against Croatia in November, looked down and out when they trailed 2-0 on Friday.
Leonardo Mayer and Carlos Berlocq then saved a match point in their doubles victory before Berlocq levelled the tie with another five-set win over Paolo Lorenzi.
Ultimately those heroics proved to be in vain, though, and Argentina now face a play-off in September to hold onto their World Group status.
Fognini celebrates after clinching victory in the deciding rubber on Monday afternoon
Argentina now face a play-off in September to hold onto their World Group status
Maradona regularly attends events to support Argentina – he was at the 2015 Rugby World Cup