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Argentina Wins ‘Group of Death’ Opener

Posted June. 12, 2006 03:46,   


Argentina, in the so-called Group of Death, beat Africa’s Côte d’Ivoire and is on the right track to advance to the second round.

On June 11 at Hamburg World Cup Stadium, Argentina, belonging to Group C with Netherlands and Serbia and Montenegro, beat Côte d’Ivoire 2-1. Argentina’s two strikers, Hernan Crespo and Javier Saviola, each scored a goal.

Both Argentinean goals started off the feet of offensive midfielder Juan Riquelme, who gained the complete support and confidence of Argentinean Coach Jose Pekerman. Twenty four minutes into the first half, Riquelme crossed the ball into the penalty area full of players from both squads, and it resulted in Argentina’s first goal when Crespo slightly kicked the rebounding ball. In the 38 minute of the first half, Riquelme once again slipped the ball to Saviola who quickly rushed past a defender and finished the goal.

Making its first appearance at the World Cup, Côte d’Ivoire actually had more shots at the goal than Argentina, 8-4, and controlled the ball 50.8 percent of the time, more than Argentina’s 49.2 percent, but lacked experience and goal-scoring. However, it avoided the shutout when Didier Drogba scored in the 37 minute of the second half.

Group B—

England had a difficult match against Paraguay, but overcame with a victory and three points, while Northern Europe’s powerhouse Sweden drew 0-0 against World Cup first comer Trinidad and Tobago.

England’s offense was not as devastating as expected, and the game was quite stifling, but in the end victory favored England. Three minutes into the game, David Beckham’s cross hit the head of Paraguayan team captain Carlos Gamarra and deflected into his own team’s goalpost.

Meanwhile, Sweden overwhelmed Trinidad and Tobago in number of shots by 16 to four, but Shaka Hislop saved the day for his team when he didn’t allow a single goal for the Swedes.

Group A—

Host Germany’s offense was more powerful than expected. In its opening game against Costa Rica, it won 4-2, with goals from Philipp Lahm, Torsten Frings and Miroslav Klose who scored a pair of goals. On the other hand, Poland that was predicted to take second place in Group A, lost to Ecuador 0-2.