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Argentina 2-1 Ivory Coast
Saturday, 10 June 2006

Javier Saviola
Saviola's sumptuous finish sealed Argentina's victory
Argentina got their World Cup campaign off to a winning start with victory over Ivory Coast in a gripping opening to Group C in Hamburg.

Roberto Ayala saw a header come back off the post before Hernan Crespo put Argentina ahead from close range.

Javier Saviola then latched on to Juan Riquelme's exquisite throughball to flick in the second before the break.

Didier Drogba's low shot set up a frantic finale but the Ivorians were let down by some sloppy finishing.

Henri Michel's side will take great heart from an impressive display - particularly in the opening period.

The Ivorians, playing their first game in the World Cup finals, shocked their South American opponents with a frenetic opening spell.

The powerful running of Arthur Boka, Didier Zokora and Kanga Akale opened up the Argentina defence at will before the break.

606 VIEW

But the West Africans often failed to find a telling final ball - and when they did, their wayward finishing let them down.

Argentina soon got into their stride with Riquelme majestically patrolling the midfield and Crespo and Saviola a constant threat up front.

Crespo narrowly failed to get on the end of a Maxi Rodriguez cross and from the resulting corner Ayala nearly gave Argentina the lead.

The Valencia man's powerful header was fumbled onto the post by keeper Jean-Jacques Tizie and went dangerously close to crossing the line.

But the Ivory Coast did not learn their set-piece lesson and Argentina were ahead minutes later.

The Ivorians failed to deal with Riquelme's vicious inswinging free-kick from the left flank and Crespo reacted smartly to stab the ball home from close range.

Hernan Crespo
Crespo opened the scoring

The lively Drogba was denied by a fine sliding block from Ayala and Bonaventure Kalou shot wastefully wide after some fabulous wingplay from Yaya Toure.

Drogba then teed up Abdul Kader Ketia with a first-time header back across goal but Ketia headed straight at Roberto Abbondanzieri from six yards.

The Ivorians were made to pay for their sloppy finishing when Villareal playmaker Riquelme picked out Saviola's superb diagonal run and the Seville striker coolly flicked the ball under the on-rushing Tizie.

The pace dropped after the interval with Argentina happy to sit deep and play on the break but the West Africans continued to carve out chances.

A determined run from Drogba eventally saw substitute Bakari Kone blaze over from 10 yards and Drogba then turned a free-kick just wide.

Kone was having a major impact and his pace and cross eventually found Drogba whose low finish set up a nervy final eight minutes for the South Americans.

Maxi then had a goal disallowed for offside with the Ivorians pouring forward but Argentina held on.

Argentina: Abbondanzieri, Burdisso, Ayala, Heinze, Sorin, Maxi, Mascherano, Cambiasso, Riquelme (Aimar 90), Saviola (Gonzalez 76), Crespo (Palacio 64).
Subs Not Used: Coloccini, Cruz, Cufre, Franco, Messi, Milito, Scaloni, Tevez, Ustari.

Booked: Saviola, Heinze, Gonzalez.

Goals: Crespo 24, Saviola 38.

Ivory Coast: Tizie, Eboue, Kolo Toure, Meite, Boka, Akale (Bakari Kone 62), Zokora, Kalou (Dindane 56), Keita (Arouna Kone 77), Gneri Yaya Toure, Drogba.
Subs Not Used: Barry, Demel, Domoraud, Fae, Gnanhouan, Kouassi, Romaric, Yapi Yapo, Zoro.

Booked: Eboue, Drogba.

Goals: Drogba 82.

Att: 49,480

Ref: Frank De Bleeckere (Belgium).

Fifa man of the match: Javier Saviola.


Argentina have won their fourth straight World Cup opening match, and ensured the Ivory Coast's first ever World Cup contest ended in defeat.

Both Roberto Abbondanzieri and Roberto Ayala entered the top 10 of oldest Argentina players ever to appear at the World Cup.

Kolo Habib Toure and Yaya Toure of Ivory Coast became the 21st brother pairing to play in the World Cup finals.



60 40
Argentina Ivory Coast


  • 01 R Abbondanzieri
  • 21 N Burdisso
  • 02 R Ayala
  • 06 G Heinze yellow card
  • 03 J Sorin
  • 18 R Maxi
  • 08 J Mascherano
  • 05 E Cambiasso
  • 10 J Riquelme (90 P Aimar )
  • 07 J Saviola yellow card (76 L Gonzalez yellow card )
  • 09 H Crespo (64 R Palacio )

Ivory Coast

  • 01 J Tizie
  • 21 E Eboue yellow card
  • 04 K Toure
  • 12 A Meite
  • 03 A Boka
  • 02 K Akale (62 B Kone )
  • 05 D Zokora
  • 08 B Kalou (56 A Dindane )
  • 18 A Keita (77 A Kone )
  • 19 G Toure
  • 11 D Drogba yellow card

Ref: Frank De Bleeckere
Att: 49480

Hamburg - AOL Arena
03 Dec 05 |  Venues
Pekerman salutes Argentina spirit
10 Jun 06 |  Argentina
Michel retains positive outlook
10 Jun 06 |  Ivory Coast


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