Friday, June 16, 2006
The Netherlands beat Ivory Coast 2:1 which effectively knocked the African side out of the World Cup in Stuttgart, Friday.
The result meant both the Netherlands and Argentina moved into the knock-out round of the Fifa World Cup as they both had six points; while the Ivory Coast and Serbia and Montenegro had no points with one game left in Group C.
Excitement in the first-half gave way to a gritty second-half as Marco van Basten's Orangemen changed to a more defensive formation and showed resilience to stop the Elephant's charge.
The Netherlands committed 24 fouls in the match but could not stop Ivory Coast taking 16 shots, nine of which hit the target. Late in the match Robin van Persie used his chest to stop a Didier Drogba header going over the goal line.
Henri Michel's side played an attractive passing game but as the game went on this proved ineffective against the wall of orange-shirted Netherlands defenders. A more direct approach might have been better; as the tall, 180 centimeter, forward Didier Drogba showed when Van Persie was forced to clear from a corner.
Edwin van der Sar, in the Netherlands goal, conceded his first goal for his country since October 2004 but was otherwise safe and did not allow any rebounds from shots. In the second period he was helped by the Netherlands defence who blocked numerous shots from reaching their destination.
The best of the entertainment was in the first half. The first goal led from a free kick earned by Van Persie on 22 minutes. Van Persie ran at speed horizonal to the penalty area and was cut down in full flight by Kolo Toure.
Van Persie took the free kick and hammered the ball left footed around the wall into the net.
Suddenly Ivory Coast were opened up again three minutes later. Good passes and movement and Arjen Robben found Ruud van Nistelrooij in space to the right of Jean-Jacques Tizie. The striker passed the ball high over the keeper.
The two goal lead did not reflect the play which had seen some good moves by Ivory Coast and an Emmanuel Eboue penalty appeal rejected.
On 32 minutes creative midfielder Didier Zokora gave Van der Sar a warning when he smacked a powerful long range shot against his crossbar.
Seven minutes later Bakary Kone ran from the centre of the field to space on the Netherland's left side. Kone reached the edge of the penalty area and let fly with his right foot; the ball thumped into the top right of Van der Sar's goal.
At this point the Ivory Coast looked better than the Netherlands defence. On 42 minutes Drogba intercepted a misplaced pass but on the breakaway could not thread his pass to his team mate when 2 on 1 with the last defender.
It was not to be Ivory Coast's day. While Ivory Coast still looked to pass through the Netherlands the Dutch looked more than capable to hold out for the win.
== Statistics ==
Referee: Oscar Ruiz (Columbia)
=== Netherlands ===
01 E Van der Sar
14 J Heitinga (Substituted: 45' K Boulahrouz 90' )
13 A Ooijer
04 J Mathijsen 35'
05 G Van Bronckhorst
20 W Sneijder (Substituted: 50' R Van der Vaart )
18 M Van Bommel 58'
08 P Cocu
17 R Van Persie
11 A Robben 34'
09 R van Nistelrooy (Substituted: 73' D Landzaat )
=== Ivory Coast ===
01 J Tizie
21 E Eboue
04 K Toure
12 A Meite
03 A Boka 66'
05 D Zokora 25'
19 G Toure
22 N Romaric (Substituted: 61' G Yapi Yapo )
09 A Kone (Substituted: 73' K Akale )
14 B Kone (Substituted: 62' A Dindane )
11 D Drogba 41'
== Table ==
Fifa World Cup Group C table June 16, 2006
== Related news ==
"Argentina thrash Serbia and Montenegro in Group C" — Wikinews, June 16, 2006
== Sources ==
"Netherlands 2-1 Ivory Coast" — BBC Online, June 16, 2006
"Fifa match report" — FIFA, June 16, 2006This article is about the 2006 World Cup; for more World Cup news visit the World Cup portal.