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HANOVER, Germany - Mexico's fans kept up the deafening chant: "Si, se puede! Si, se puede!"
"Yes, we can! Yes, we can!"
No, they couldn't.
Mexico moved the ball about the field almost at will Friday against Angola. The only thing El Tri didn't do was put the ball in the net, settling for a 0-0 draw that turned the chants and cheers into derisive whistles.
"We played very good in back," midfielder Pavel Pardo said. "We played very good in the midfield. But the most important thing is, you need to score. If you don't score, you don't win."
A victory over Angola, combined with a win or draw today by Portugal against Iran, would have guaranteed Mexico its fourth straight trip to the round of 16. Instead, everything comes down to Wednesday's Group D finales: Mexico against Portugal and Iran against Angola.
Mexico also failed to earn its first World Cup victory against an African team.
Coach Ricardo Lavolpe used four forwards - sometimes three at a time - and none came close to matching his form from Mexico's 3-1 win over Iran in its opener.
The strikers - Guillermo Franco, Omar Bravo, Francisco Fonseca and Jesus Arellano - were no-shows at postmatch interviews. Each had chances to score against the Black Antelopes, but something always went wrong.
Angola, which went down to 10 men in the 79th minute when Andre earned his second yellow card, was delighted with the result.
"The team played very well," Angolan defender Rui Marques said. "When we play so compact like we did today, it's difficult for them to score a goal."
Argentina 6, Serbia-Montenegro 0
Two-time champion Argentina is starting to sense something special.
Jubilant cries of "Ole, Ole" and "AR-gen-tina, AR-gen-tina" were deafening in Gelsenkirchen's closed-roof stadium, where Argentina routed Serbia-Montenegro 6-0 in the most lopsided game of this World Cup.
"This was an incredible performance," said midfielder Maxi Rodriguez, who scored two first-half goals. Substitute Esteban Cambiasso added another in the first half, with Hernan Crespo and youngsters Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi finishing it late when Serbia-Montenegro was a man short.
Diego Maradona brought Argentina its last title in 1986. Now Argentina's chief cheerleader, Maradona swirled the sky-blue and white Argentine jersey above his head and chiming in as one chant was screamed over and over:
"We're going to leave as champions, just like in '86."
Netherlands 2, Ivory Coast 1
Power and flair. Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie used both to show why the Netherlands belongs in the second round.
Both strikers scored in Stuttgart, providing enough offense to boost the Dutch into the round of 16 from a tough Group C.
Ivory Coast was eliminated despite a second classy match in its tournament debut, and got a brilliant goal from Bakary Kone. Ivorian star Didier Drogba was left to console his teammates at the end.
"You have to realize this is very young team. It is very important to reach the second round," Dutch coach Marco Van Basten said after he emerged from a joyous orange-clad scrum.