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Holland 0-0 Argentina

World Cup heavyweights Argentina and Holland played out a goalless draw in a keenly fought contest in Frankfurt.

Argentina came closest to scoring when Dutch defender Khalid Boulahrouz deflected a Juan Roman Riquelme free-kick on to the post.

Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt tested Roberto Abbondanzieri while Philip Cocu also forced the keeper to tip over.

Argentina top Group C and will play Mexico in the last 16 on Saturday while the Dutch face Portugal on Sunday.

The winner of the match between Holland and Portugal will face England in the quarter-final should Sven-Goran Eriksson's men defeat Ecuador.

Both teams will undoubtedly be on better form for their knockout ties after leaving out several of their key players for what was essentially a dead rubber.

The Dutch were without the likes of Mark van Bommel, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and star man Arjen Robben, while Argentina had chosen to leave out their first-choice attacking duo, Hernan Crespo and Javier Saviola.

Those who came in did not let their respective sides down.

"Maxi
Both sides grappled to force chances from the outset of the match
Two such players were Dutch defenders Tim de Cler and Boulahrouz who harried and hassled forwards Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez and rarely afforded them space in which to cause the kind of havoc that resulted in Serbia and Montenegro's 6-0 thrashing.

When Argentina were allowed a yard of space, more often than not playmaker Riquelme took advantage.

He came close to scoring on a couple of occasions, from a direct corner in the first half and with a low drive in the second, but it was his ability from set-pieces and vision to pick out a team-mate with a killer pass that made him stand out.

His delivery was certainly exceptional, forcing Edwin van der Sar to tip over from a wicked corner and then making Boulahrouz deflect his low driving free-kick on to the post.

One player who made a case for a start against Mexico was Carlos Tevez.

The bulldog forward bullied the Dutch defence all night both on the wing and through the centre, although his one and only clear chance came in the second half when his fierce 20-yard drive was parried by Holland's Manchester United keeper.

The Dutch were less pretty in their attacking play, but the makeshift side seemed more content with keeping the Argentines at bay.

They were limited to a handful of chances.

The best fell to Feyenoord striker Dirk Kuyt, who tested goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri with a stinging effort in the first half and then Philip Cocu whose shot from a tight angle was tipped over by the Argentina shotstopper.


Holland: Van der Sar, Boulahrouz, Ooijer, Jaliens, De Cler, Sneijder (Maduro 86), Cocu, Van der Vaart, Van Persie (Landzaat 67), van Nistelrooy (Babel 56), Kuyt.
Subs Not Used: Mathijsen, Van Bronckhorst, Robben, Kromkamp, Heitinga, Van Bommel, Vennegoor of Hesselink, Timmer, Stekelenburg.

Booked: Kuyt, Ooijer, De Cler.


Argentina: Abbondanzieri, Burdisso (Coloccini 24), Ayala, Milito, Cufre, Mascherano, Maxi, Cambiasso, Riquelme (Aimar 79), Messi (Cruz 69), Tevez.
Subs Not Used: Sorin, Heinze, Saviola, Crespo, Franco, Scaloni, Palacio, Ustari, Gonzalez.

Booked: Cambiasso, Mascherano.


Att: 48,000

Ref: Luis Medina Cantalejo (Spain).

Fifa man of the match: Carlos Tevez



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