Serb & Mont
FIFA WORLD CUP
Zentralstadion, Leipzig, Germany
Referee: Markus Merk | Attendance: 37216
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Serbia & Montenegro
0 - 1
Markus Merk blows the final whistle and Holland have started their World Cup with a win, courtesy of Man of the Match Arjen Robben. The Serbs improved after a poor start, but Robben's excellence made the Dutch deserving winners.
Zigic gets a toe to Djordjevic's cross. It goes wide and that looks like their final chance.
Nadj goes down 25 yards out but Kuyt's challenge is ruled legal.
Zigic tries to release Ljuboja with an overhead kick, but can't find his strike partner.
Free kick on the edge of the box. Sneijder goes for goal, but only strikes the top of the wall. Three minutes of stoppage time are signalled.
Robben goes off on another run and he is eventually halted by Gavrancic, but illegally. That is a booking, and Gavrancic shakes the referee's hand after getting his punishment.
Now Sneijder is in space on hte counter-attack, Holland work the ball across to Robben on the right flank, he checks infield and goes for the far corner. His shot is marginally wide.
Djordjevic whips it in and Kuyt is back to defend it.
Fine cross from Koroman and the Dutch sub Boulahrouz has to concede the corner.
Risky turn from Boulahrouz, up against Ljuboja, but he gets away with it and Holland can clear.
Van Basten's final change and it is a straight swap - Mathijsen off, Boulahrouz comes on.
This is what Holland want, possession some 70 yards from their goal and a chance to take the sting out of the game.
Yellow card, and it is for Heitinga for time-wasting. He argues that he delayed taking the free kick because the Serb didn not retreat 10 yards.
Van der Sar is up and ready to take the free kick now.
Zigic jumps into van der Sar, who manages to catch the ball but seems to have hurt himself in the process.
Dutch free kick on the right wing. Van Persie lines it up, curls it round the wall and Kuyt at the far post is inches away from touching it in.
Van Persie is caught very late by Dragutinovic and that has to be a yellow card.
Into the last 10 minutes, and time for the Serbs to commit more men forward in search of the equaliser.
Sneijder takes but that is overhit and sails out of play.
Cocu wins a free kick wide on the left. A chance for the Dutch to get men forward.
Robben cuts in from the right and drills a shot just past the post. He really is the star for Holland today.
Free kick for Serbia and Montenegro. Djordjevic takes, Zigic gets a touch, it comes to Koroman, who should have hit it, but doesn't.
Ljoboja comes in from the right, but there is just too much elevation on his cross and presents the Dutch with few problems.
Robben takes and Kristajic heads it away. So far, the Dutch corners have been something of a let-down.
Another surge forwards from Rooben, whose shot is blocked. Corner.
Stankovic chips a cross towards Zigic, but it isn't accurate enough.
Another mazy run from Robben, but he can't quite feed it through to van Persie.
Mathijsen is down. A stretcher comes on to the pitch, but is then taken off, without the Dutch defender.
Koroman cuts in from the right, whips a shot in at the low post. Van der Sar parries and claims at the second attempt.
Stankovic's cross is aimed at Zigic, but claimed by van der Sar.
A promising move breaks down as Stankovic turns the wrong way and Djordjevic passes it out.
More Serb pressure as Ljoboja tries to find room near the left corner flag to cross. He can't.
Now the Dutch make their second change. Off goes van Nistelrooy to be replaced by Dirk Kuyt.
Ljoboja starts off with a little dart down the right, but his low cross is cut out.
Now the Serbs make their final change. Kezman comes off for Ljoboja and it should be a straight swap.
Nadj is caught by Sneijder, and this game is starting to get lively.
Stankovic whips the free kick over the bar. That never looked like testing van der Sar.
Now a chance for the Serbs. Koroman is brought down by Heitinga on the edge of the box. Koroman gestures for Heitinga to be booked - and the ref books Koroman instead. Well done.
Kezman escapes down the left, he crosses first time and it strikes Ooijer. Penalty? The ref says no.
A long ball from Dragutinovic is easy for van der Sar to claim and Zigic isn't looking the aerial threat the Serbs must have wanted.
Robben pulls it back to Sneijder, whose low shot at the near post is parried by Jevric. Van Nistelrooy then jumps for it, but the goalkeeper gathers.
Sneijder finds Robben who evades two and wins a corner off Gavrancic.
Koroman does well on the right flank again, but his cross is too high for Kezman.
Van Bommel comes off for Landzaat as the Dutch make their first change.
Stankovic aims for Kristajic. He wins the header, but the Serbs can't get the second ball. Then another cross comes to Kezman, who goes for the overhead and is penalised for an overhead kick.
Zigic's flick-on is headed away by van Bronckhorst. Then the left back heads another long ball, but behind for a corner.
Van Bronckhorst, perhaps harshly, is booked for tugging back Koroman. Kristajic wastes the free kick.
Van Persie gets past Dragutinovic on the Dutch right, but can't pull his cross back enough for his team-mates.
Sneijder chips in and Robben goes for the overhead kick. He can't quite connect, but he was unmarked.
Dragutinovic fouls van Persie 35 yards out. Perhaps just too far for a shot
The Dutch are trying to take the sting out of the game now after a fine start to the second half by the Serbs.
Robben has a sharp shot on the turn that Kristajic blocks.
Robben's deep cross is chested back to the keeper by Dragutinovic.
Van Der Sar shows good chest control to meet a wayward backpass from van Bronckhorst.
Djordjevic takes a free kick, but even the giant Zigic can't reach it.
A really positive start from the Serbs, who now have a target man to aim for. Notable that the left back Dragutinovic has already been to the corner flag twice.
He takes it and again the Dutch don't clear convincingly.
The overlapping Dragutinvoic gets forward, but Heitinga is back to cover. Then Koroman wins a corner.
Nadj gives it away to Robben, but he can't quite roll his cross into the path of van Nistelrooy.
Zigic gets a flick-on straight away, but van der Sar beats Kezman to it.
The teams are back for the second half. Serbia and Montenegro kick off, knowing defeat here would make qualification from this group all but impossible. They have made a change already - Milosevic has gone on and the giant Zigic, who is 6ft 8in, is on.
Half-time and the Dutch have a deserved lead with Robben, the goalscorer, very much the star of the show.
Excellent effort from Koroman, cutting in to blast a shot over from 20 yards.
Van Nistelrooy's little flick evades Robben as Holland press again.
Two additional minutes in this half and the arrival of Koroman has perked up Serbia and Montenegro.
Koroman is in the action straight away, crossing from the right and a sliding Kezman is denied by Ooijer.
Poor old Nenad Djordjevic had a torrid time against Robben. Duljaj has taken over at right back.
A change for the Serbs already - Nenad Djordjevic comes off and Koroman is on. Presumably an attacking move
Robben cuts in and puts his cross behind van Nistelrooy, looking for van Persie, but it is cut out
And they look for Robben again, but he just can't keep the ball in.
Robben and van Bronckhorst combine and there's no doubt the Dutch are looking for the Chelsea winger at every possible opportunity.
Kezman goes down after failing to reach Gavrancic's pass. He gets up gingerly.
Robben's corner is a weak one and cleared at the near post.
Stankovic comes into traffic in midfield and loses out. Holland quickly find Robben on the burst, he skips past one and wins a corner.
Robben almost gets a second. Latching on to a long ball, he cuts in a whips in a low right-foot shot that just goes past the far post.
Another mazy run from Robben, often double-marked, earns the Dutch a throw.
Possession is conceded tamely by both sides, a rarity in this game so far.
Stankovic and Heitinga are down after a challenge - the Serb midfielder is booked for it.
Djordjevic whips in a corner and no one meets it until van Bommel, at the back of the box, hacks away.
Van Basten wipes his face with a sponge as Holland feel the heat.
Van Persie swaps flanks, flicks the ball in for Sneijder, but he loses his footing.
The goal has proved just what this game needed. S and M are coming forward now, and showing some quality, while the Dutch have retained their ambition.
Milosevic latches on to Kezman's delicate header and strikes a 25-yard half-volley well, but rather too close to van der Sar to really threaten.
A flying van Persie connects with Cocu's cross, heads it well but too close to Jevric.
Predrag Djordjevic takes , it comes out to him and he crosses again. A stopping Kezman heads just wide at the back post.
Kezman, initially thinking he's offside, latches on to Nadj's long pass. He crosses, Milosevic challenges and gets a corner off Mathijsen.
Dragutinovic takes it quickly and looks for Milosevic, but he can't control his shot.
Another soft free kick conceded by the Dutch defence - Ooijer this time.
It's lined up for Kristajic, who thumps it. It takes a deflection and Milosevic attempts to capitalise, but he is offside.
Milosevic wins a free kick from Mathijsen some 35 yards out.
A late tackle by Kezman appears to have left van Bommel on the ground. Holland come forward and Sneijder shoots tamely wide.
Ambitious effort from Van Nistelrooy, a good 45 yards out. As easy as a backpass for the keeper, however.
Cocu's chipped pass forward goes over van Nistelrooy's head and Jevric claims.
Stankovic's corner is too long for everyone, and easy for Holland.
A cheer as the referee falls over. Nadj wins a corner for the Serbs.
Van Nistelrooy, to his surprise, is penalised as he tries to escape from Duljaj.
And that threat is Robben - a really well-struck effort from 25 yards is palmed away by Jevric. From the corner, Cocu heads over the bar.
Van Persie cuts in from the right flank which, as a left-footer, you would expect him to do. This isn't a balanced Dutch team, but they do have a threat.
The Serbs had a terrific defensive record in qualifying. Now it is a test - how good are they going forward?
Predrag Djordjevic, who has looked something of a threat on the left for the Serbs, can't quite get his cross in.
Reward for the greater ambition of Holland and Robben, who has looked the danger man throughout, is the goalscorer.
GOAL! This time Robben does get away, released by van Nistelrooy with a slide-rule pass. He keeps his calm and sidefoots calmly past Jevric.
Van Bommel's volleyed pass seems to set Robben away, but he's offside.
A throw for the Serbs deep in Dutch territory. Djordjevic takes it, but it's heared away.
Milosevic shrugs off Van Bronckhorst, advances on goal... but his shot is tame and easy for van der Sar.
Robben, very much the target for Holland, meets van Bronckhorst's long pass, beats his man but puts his cross just too close to Jevric.
Van NIstelrooy spreads play to Robben and it's interesting to see the Manchester United striker dropping a little deeper in search of the ball already.
Predrag Djordjevic gets round the back of the Dutch defence, he crosses, it's a fine chance... and Kezman and Milosevic appear to get in each other's way.
Sneijder takes, but it's really poor and cleared at the near post.
Robben goes on a solo run, two track him and Duljaj tracks him. Free kick in a good crossing position.
Van Bronckhorst goes for the diagonal ball, but it's just too far for Van Nistelrooy.
Stankovic takes, wide on the left flank, but the Dutch push up and van der Sar can claim unopposed.
Nenad Djordjevic aims long and Predrag Djordjevic wins a free kick.
Stankovic releases Kezman with a long pass but Ooijer comes across to cover well.
Robben's shot comes off Gavrancic and Kristajic clears.
Van Nistelrooy goes on a short solo run, ended by Duljaj.
Van Bommel finds Robben, who looks for van Nistelrooy, and it takes a good intereceptions to stop him getting in on goal.
The first Serb attack comes to nothing as Predrag Djordjevic's pass goes out.
Van Bronckhorst is seeing plenty of the ball at left back. Then Robben slips as he tries to evade Gavrancic.
Ooijer and Sneijder link up as the Dutch enjoy a spell of possession.
Van Bronckhorst goes for the long throw, but Cocu is penalised.
Interesting to note already how often the Dutch are looking for Robben, whoever gets teh ball.
Robben himself gets the flick, but straight to Jevric.
Robben, perhaps luckily, wins the first free kick. Sneijder will take.
Nadj beats Robben to thwart the first Doutch attack, and it already looks an open game.
The Dutch get the game underway with points a must in a group as tough.
On to the second game in the Group of Death after yesterday's cracked between Argentina and Ivory Coast. This is the first game in a World Cup final played behind the old Iron Curtain, interestingly enough.
Dirk Kuyt and Van der Vaart are on the bench for Holland while the Serbs are without the banned Vidic.
S and M: Jevric, Dragutinovic, Gavrancic,Nenad Djordjevic, Krstajic, Duljaj, Stankovic, Predrag Djordjevic, Nadj, Kezman, Milosevic. Subs: Basta, Dudic,
Ergic, Ilic, Koroman, Kovacevic, Ljuboja, Stojkovic, Vukic, Zigic.
Holland: Van der Sar, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Ooijer,
Van Bronckhorst, Sneijder, Van Bommel, Cocu, Van Persie,van Nistelrooy, Robben. Subs: Babel, Boulahrouz, De