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NETHERLANDS 2, IVORY COAST 1

Ruud awakening sparks win

STUTTGART, Germany -- Power and flair. Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie used both yesterday to show why the Netherlands belongs in the second round of the World Cup.

Van Nistelrooy and Van Persie each scored in a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast, enough to make sure the Dutch advance along with Argentina from a tough Group C.

Ivory Coast was eliminated despite its second classy match in its first World Cup, and got a brilliant goal from Bakary Kone. Ivorian star Didier Drogba was left to console his teammates at the end of the game, wondering why he was no match for Van Nistelrooy in the battle of two of the biggest power forwards in the game.

Under intense pressure to perform after a lackluster opener, Van Nistelrooy came through with a trademark move, waiting on the edge of an offside position, taking a pass, and slamming the ball home from 12 yards for the winner, proving again he is the master of the penalty area.

``We are very happy he made a goal. It gives us a lot of confidence for the next games," Dutch coach Marco van Basten said.

Van Persie set up his free-kick goal with a searing run from the right into the center, where he was floored on the edge of the area by Kolo Toure in the 23d minute. The Arsenal player lined up a drive that clattered into the upper right corner before goalie Jean-Jacques Tizie could get a hand up.

The win also put two-time champion Argentina, which beat Serbia-Montenegro, 6-0, into the next round. Ivory Coast and Serbia are eliminated.

After Van Persie's goal, the Dutch started playing at their best and finished off Ivory Coast with a six-pass move four minutes later. Arjen Robben was twice involved, and in the end sent Van Nistelrooy through for the goal.

Kone used his pace to open the Dutch defense and score with a cross-angled drive in the 38th minute.

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