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Argentina edge past Cote d'Ivoire

Goals from Crespo and Saviola helped the South Americans to a 2-1 victory. Schedule | Teams | Interviews | Photos

india Updated: Jun 11, 2006 03:51 IST

Argentina kept the Elephants from dancing in their World Cup debut.

Hernan Crespo and Javier Saviola took advantage of some shaky defence to score first-half goals, leading Argentina over Ivory Coast 2-1 Saturday in the first game of what many think is the toughest group at the World Cup.

Didier Drogba, a key to Chelsea's two straight English Premier League titles, got Ivory Coast's goal in the 82nd minute, just missing a header, and then converting from out in front after the ball was played back.

Argentina won its fourth straight World Cup opener and next plays Serbia-Montenegro on Friday, when Ivory Coast meets the Netherlands.

The Dutch face Serbia in their Group C opener on Sunday.

Ivory Coast, which got past African power Cameroon to qualify for the first time, was dressed in bright orange jerseys, and so was its fans.

The supporters serenade the team with "When the Elephants dance, it's the ground that suffers" after wins, but they didn't have much to sing about.

Argentina fans, in their blue-and-white-striped shirts, filled the other end. Four years ago in Japan, the two-time World Cup champions were eliminated in the first round and were ridiculed back home, where newspapers took a photo of the team's defensive wall and superimposed handbags draped on the players' arms.

Lionel Messi, Argentina's rising 18-year-old star who plays for European champion FC Barcelona, did not get into the game, which featured entertaining, end-to-end action.

First Published: Jun 11, 2006 00:00 IST