Holland defeat Serbia-Montenegro

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/A/Apnetherlands.jpg' class='caption'> Holland has joined Argentina as the leaders of Group C after its 1-0 victory against Serbia and Montenegro on Sunday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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Holland has joined Argentina as the leaders of Group C after its 1-0 victory against Serbia-Montenegro on Sunday. With both teams coming into the tournament without a defeat in their previous 13 games, the match was expected to be a hard fought encounter. The challenge for the attacking Dutch side was to breach the imposing Serbia-Montenegro defence, which conceded just one goal in 11 matches during the qualifying stages. But thanks to the efforts of winger Arjen Robben, the Dutch team managed to crack open their European rival's defence. Brilliant Robben Holland knew that they had to score early and force Serbia-Montenegro to change their playing style. A fantastic through ball from Robin Van Persie in the 18th minute and Arjen Robben's finishing touch provided the Dutch with the crucial opener. The orange jerseys then seemed to be all over their opponents, forcing high quality saves from Serbia-Montenegro keeper Dragoslav Jevric. Serbia-Montenegro could only manage one-third of the ball-possession, but they did create the odd chance. Their famed back four had no answers to the pace and skill of Chelsea winger Robben, as he ran riot. See-saw battle The Dutch started the second half in much the same vein and continued to dominate proceedings. However, with 20 minutes to go, Serbia-Montenegro began to press forward, as Koroman forced a good low save from rival skipper Edwin van Der Saar. Six minutes later, the East Europeans took advantage of the hesitation in the Dutch defence creating another chance, but once again the equaliser eluded the white brigade. With less than 10 minutes to go, Holland had a chance to double their advantage, but Robin Van Persie's hard low free kick sailed just wide. As the referee sounded the full-time whistle, delighted orange fans began the party as their team kicked off its World Cup campaign with a hard fought win.

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