By Chris Lehourites
The Associated Press
BERLIN —; Mexico will play in the second round of the World Cup for the fourth straight time.
The Mexicans lost 2-1 Wednesday against already-qualified Portugal, but still advanced because Angola was held to a 1-1 draw by Iran in the other Group D match.
Later, Argentina held the Netherlands to a 0-0 draw to clinch first place in Group C. Ivory Coast got its first win, coming back from two goals down to beat Serbia-Montenegro 3-2.
In the second round, Portugal will face the Netherlands on Sunday in Nuremberg, while Mexico plays Argentina on Saturday in Leipzig.
Portugal played without several starters in Gelsenkirchen because it had already qualified for the second round for the first time in 40 years.
Maniche and Simao Sabrosa scored in the first 25 minutes, and Mexico’s Omar Bravo missed a chance to equalize on a second-half penalty kick that soared over the net.
Francisco Fonseca, also known as Kikin, headed in a corner kick to put Mexico back in the game before halftime.
Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who has now won a record 10 straight World Cup matches, spared five key players for this match. The absences included playmaker Deco, winger Cristiano Ronaldo, and all-time top scorer Pauleta. Mexico started the match with six defenders.
Even so, the Portuguese extended their unbeaten run to 17 international games, during which they have allowed just six goals.
“Things couldn’t be better,” Scolari said. “This was as tough a game as we had expected, but I asked my players today to make it hard for me to pick my team for the next round, and they did that.”
Mexico had lost only two of its last 12 games against European opposition in World Cup matches. The last time Mexico played at a World Cup and failed to advance to the second round was 1978. The team didn’t play at the 1982 and 1990 World Cups, and reached the quarterfinals in 1986.
Needing Mexico to lose and to make up a three-goal difference, Angola played attacking soccer for much of its match in Leipzig.
Flavio, who came on as a substitute for Angola captain Fabrice Akwa, scored his team’s first goal of the World Cup in the 60th minute. He broke free from Kaabi Hossein in the penalty box and headed a cross from Ze Kalanga over goalkeeper Ebrahim Mirzapour.
Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh equalized in the 75th minute to give Iran its first point and end Angola’s hopes of advancing.
Lionel Messi made his first World Cup start for Argentina in Frankfurt, and coach Jose Pekerman fielded four other reserve players, proving his squad has strength in depth.
Messi, who played for 69 minutes, ran the show much of the time he was on the field. He set up chances for teammates, tested the inexperienced Dutch defense and showed the skills only a few players in the world possess.
At the same time, Netherlands standout winger Arjen Robben was on the bench, saving his strength for the second round. The Dutch also played without four other starters.
In his Dutch record-equaling 112th international game, goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar produced the save of the match, a one-handed dive to swipe out a 20-yard drive from Carlos Tevez in the 74th minute.
Bonaventure Kalou scored the winning goal from the penalty spot in the 86th minute for Ivory Coast in Munich. Aruna Dindane scored the other two goals for the Elephants, one from the penalty spot in the 37th.