Netherlands & Argentina in bore draw

The Netherlands and Argentina have played out a tepid 0-0 draw at the Waldstadion in Frankfurt, leaving the South Americans as Group C winners and the Dutch as runners-up.

    Tight tussle: Wesley Sneijder (L) and Lionel Messi

    In a match that never reached the heights that a clash between two teams of such calibre should have, both sides seemed to be happy with their round of 16 match-ups with Argentina to play Mexico and the Netherlands to take on Portugal.

    Dutch coach Marco van Basten rested five of his usual starting eleven, all of whom were on yellow cards, with Joris Mathijsen, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Arjen Robben, John Heitinga, and Mark van Bommel all reporting for bench duty.

    Jose Pekerman, Argentinean coach, also rested his players under cautions, with Gabriel Heinze, Javier Saviola, and Hernan Crespo all taking no part in the match.

    In the 53rd minute Villarreal midfielder Juan Riquelme lined up a low shot from just outside the box that went wide at the far post with Dutch keeper Edwin van der Sar looking on.

    After 56 minutes, out of sorts forward Ruud van Nistelrooy was substituted off for 19 year old Ajax striker Ryan Babel, with the Manchester United player not getting much quality service.

    Diego says:
                   "Where's all the action?"

    Carlos Tevez stung the outstretched left hand of van der Sar in the 73rd minute with a well hit shot from outside the box, but in the end each side had only three shots on target each.

    Earlier, a deft through ball by Lionel Messi in the 7th minute was cut out just at the last moment by defender Khalid Boulahrouz with Inter Milan midfielder Esteban Cambiasso lining up a shot.

    On 29 minutes, Hamburg player Khalid Boulahrouz almost put a Juan Riquleme free-kick into the back of his own net with the ball hitting the post, and seconds later midfielder Maxi Rodriguez unleashed a curling right foot shot that went just wide.

    Rodriguez was in on the action again four minutes later when the Atletico Madrid player stole in to get a shot off from close range, but the presence of Dutchman Phillip Cocu was enough to put the Argentinean off.

    The Dutch seemed to be missing the attacking impetus of flying winger Robben and midfielder van Bommell, as they struggled to get any cohesive attacking raids going all match.

    Argentina now play Mexico in Leipzig on Saturday 24th June, while the Netherlands take on Group D winners Portugal in Nuremberg the following day.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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