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Rediff.com  » Sports » Argentina finish on top of Group C

Argentina finish on top of Group C

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June 22, 2006 03:08 IST

Argentina and the Netherlands cancelled each other out in a 0-0 World Cup Group C draw on Wednesday.

The Argentines finished top on goal difference and will meet Mexico in Leipzig in the second round on Saturday. The Dutch face Portugal in Nuremberg on Sunday.

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A tight, tactical battle only sprung to life on isolated occasions, mainly when Argentina threatened to score, having created the more chances.

After the teams had weighed each other up for the opening quarter of an hour, the first shot on target came from the Dutch.

An error by right back Nicolas Burdisso allowed winger Dirk Kuijt to force a leaping save from keeper Roberto Abbondanzieri.

Minutes later, Argentina strung together a long passing movement which ended with Carlos Tevez shooting narrowly wide of Edwin van der Sar's right-hand post.

The keeper, equalling the Dutch caps record of 112 held by Frank de Boer, had to act sharply to turn over Juan Roman Riquelme's inswinging corner.

Tevez then chased a low Riquelme free kick to the near post, forcing a quick intervention from defender Khalid Boulahrouz whose attempted clearance came back off the post.

With Argentina being forced back in the latter stages of the first half, Maxi Rodriguez had a shot from outside the box that shaved the diving Van der Sar's right-hand post.

Argentine teenager Lionel Messi, making his first start in the finals, was restricted by close Dutch marking but got in a shot in first-half stoppage time that went straight to Van der Sar.

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