Denmark: Expect the Unexpected
Denmark 1 – 0 Netherlands
As it Happened
Denmark pulled up the first upset of 2012 Euro Cup with a 1-0 victory over Netherlands. Michael Krohn-Dehli’s goal in the 24th minute of the game split the two teams 3 points apart in the “Group of Death”. A plethora of misses by the Dutch forwards, especially Robin Van-Persie and Arjen Robben resulted in the unexpected defeat of the runner-ups of 2010 World Cup.
From the very start of the game, the Dutch launched a series of attacks against the Danes with Van Persie, Robben and Ibrahim Affelay all on the front. However, the Danish goalkeeper, Stephan Anderson was invulnerable. The only time Anderson failed was in the 36th minute when he gave away the ball to Arjen Robben, who could just hit the far post at best.
The Danes, on the other hand, were building up solid counter attacks. These eventually bore fruit when Krohn-Dehli went past two defenders and shot through the feet of Maarten Stekelenburg, the Dutch keeper . As we mentioned in our preview, in the absence of Joris Mathijsen, the Dutch defense was weak. The Danes utilized this opportunity to the maximum extent.
Robin Van Persie missed another glorious opportunity towards the end of the first half when Wesley Sneiijder passed him an easy ball to score. But the Arsenal Captain could, at the best, hit the ball without any power or commitment to Anderson. In the 63rd minute, it was Robben’s chance to miss. Sneijder found him about 6 yards out, and he headed wide. 73rd minute, and it was Klaas-Jan Hunteleer’s chance to miss the goal. He shot straight to Anderson in a one-one situation and Van Persie fails to score from the follow-up. The Dutch manager’s strategy to introduce Dirk Kuyt at 85th minute couldn’t help the Oranje. Towards the end of the game, the Dutch appealed for a handball against the Dane defender, Lars Jacobsen, which the referee turned down. Overall, the Netherlands’ inability to keep the ball within the net cost them crucial points in their first game.
Denmark will definitely be elated at this victory. They have secured crucial 3 points. On Wednesday, they meet Portugal. If they can pull up another surprise, they are sure to move towards the quarterfinals. Even a draw might help them secure a place in the top 8. This would be a real upset, since the Danes had the least chance of moving on from the Group of Death. With the goalkeeper Anderson in this superb form, the Scandinavians can dream.
Netherlands have just themselves to blame for this defeat. With 28 shots, 5 of which were at the goal without any fruit is extremely disappointing. The Dutch will have to start afresh. They have two games left in the group against the mighty Germany and Portugal, and needless to say, they have to win both. They are a balanced team and can possibly proceed to the quarterfinals even after this defeat.
“I’m speechless, because these three points are very important.” – Dutch captain Mark Van Bommel
“We know the Dutch, they can be very dominating. If you get scared of them, they play really good football. I think we played them in the right way”, Denmark coach Morten Olsen
Netherlands: Stekelenburg, Van der Wiel (Kuyt 85), Heitinga, Vlaar, Willems, De Jong (Van der Vaart 71), Van Bommel, Robben, Sneijder, Afellay (Huntelaar 71), Van Persie
Manager: Bert van Marwijk
Denmark: Anderson, Jacobsen, Kjaer, Agger, S. Poulsen, C. Poulsen, Kvist, Rommedahl (Mikkelsen 84), Eriksen (Schone 74), Krondelhi, Bendtner
Manager: Morten Olson