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Netherlands ease to 1-0 win in Group C

Sunday, June 11, 2006

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Arjen Robben was the difference as the Netherlands won its first World Cup match 1-0 against Serbia and Montenegro in Leipzig, Germany, Sunday.

The attacking midfielder, who plays for English club side Chelsea, dazzled in the Zentralstadion; almost as bright as the sunlight which had split half the field into dark shadow by the end of the match.

The shadows the Serbia and Montenegro team chased in the game were that of the Flying Dutchman. The goal Robben scored, enough to win the game for his side, was tucked away in a one-on-one with Dragoslav Jervic after he had out-sprinted the defence to reach a through ball.

In the second half Marco Van Basten's team seemed to suffer with the heat as opposition got more offensive play; but a goal for Serbia and Montenegro did not look likely.

Serbia and Montenegro gave up 60 percent of the ball possession to the Netherlands, which also restricted the Balkan's team to just four shots on target.

And with its accurate passes, skill and pace the team, known as the "Orange men" for the colour of their kit, still threatened. In the second half Robin Van Persie's free kick was driven low across the goal and missed the far post, as well as Holland's forwards, by centimeters.

The match was decided by a single goal partly because it was tightly contested in midfield; of the six yellow cards issued by German referee Markus Merk, they all went to defenders and midfield players.

Robben's individual display, which included a moment when he evaded two opposition players only for his shot to be blocked, earned him the man of the match award from Fifa's technical study group. He was the bright spark that exposed Serbia and Montenegro's lack of pace in defence.

Ilija Petkovic's team did not create enough goal-scoring chances and might think to beat Ivory Coast and Argentina, the two other teams in Group C, they need to work on the attack game.

Statistics

Group C

June 11, 2006
15:00
  Serbia and Montenegro 0–1   Netherlands Zentralstadion
Robben 18'

Attendance: 37'216

Referee: Markus Merk (Germany)   

Serbia and Montenegro

 
Supporters of Serbia and Montenegro
  • 01 D Jevric
  • 03 I Dragutinovic 81'  
  • 06 G Gavrancic 90'  
  • 14 N Djordjevic (Substituted: 42' O Koroman 64'  )
  • 20 M Krstajic
  • 04 I Duljaj
  • 10 D Stankovic 34'  
  • 11 P Djordjevic
  • 17 A Nadj
  • 08 M Kezman (Substituted: 67' D Ljuboja )
  • 09 S Milosevic (Substituted: 45' N Zigic)

Netherlands

  • 01 E Van der Sar
  • 14 J Heitinga 85'  
  • 04 J Mathijsen (Substituted: 86' K Boulahrouz )
  • 13 A Ooijer
  • 05 G Van Bronckhorst 56'  
  • 20 W Sneijder
  • 18 M Van Bommel (Substituted:60' D Landzaat)
  • 08 P Cocu
  • 17 R Van Persie
  • 09 R van Nistelrooy (Substituted: 69' D Kuyt)
  • 11 A Robben
 
Fans of the Netherlands in Leipzig


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This article is about the 2006 World Cup; for more World Cup news visit the World Cup portal.