Dutch defeated by defensive Danes | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 09.06.2012
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Dutch defeated by defensive Danes

One of Euro 2012's pre-tournament favorites, the Netherlands, were defeated by the unfancied Danes on Saturday, in the first match of Group B.

Netherlands' Arjen Robben reacts after losing their Group B Euro 2012 soccer match against Denmark at the Metalist stadium in Kharkiv, June 9, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer (UKRAINE - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Fussball Niederlande Dänemark Charkiw Ukraine UEFA EURO 2012

The Netherlands lost to the supposed weakest team, Denmark, in the so-called "Group of Death" on Saturday. With Germany and Portugal to come, this 1-0 loss made the Netherlands' chances to get into the next round look ominous.

Denmark's Stephan Andersen (L) catches the ball during their Group B Euro 2012 soccer match

Denmark's Stephan Andersen was a hero in goal

The Dutch started much the sharper team, harrying the Danish defense on both flanks. But despite the fire power of Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie - all star players in Europe's domestic leagues - they could not find a way through to make a mark on the scoreboard.

Robben came closest in the first half when a disastrous pass out by Danish keeper Stephan Andersen came straight to his feet. But he could only hit the post after bearing down on the goal.

Cheeky goal

In the 24th minute, Danish midfielder Simon Poulsen wove his way down the left side of the Dutch penalty area, only to have the defense block his path to the byline. His attempted cross ricocheted into the penalty area, where Michael Krohn-Dehli found himself on goal with only goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg to beat.

The striker promptly finished the job in the cheekiest fashion possible - slipping the ball between the goalkeeper's legs - to make it 1-0.

The Dutch began the second half as they finished the first - with chances coming almost every other minute. Van Persie, Robben, captain Mark van Bommel and even defender John Heitinga all had their shots palmed away or watched them creep past the post, or saw headers skim the cross bar in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

As the second period wore on, Denmark were happy to play on the counter, and successfully neutered the Dutch offensive forces, which were later bolstered by subs Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Rafael van der Vaart.

But chance after chance went begging for the Netherlands, most notably when a dream pass found Huntelaar through on goal. His first shot bounced off Andersen, while van Persie could only foul the goalie in his attempt to get the ball.

In the end, the Danes looked increasingly comfortable keeping Holland at bay, and completed a famous victory to put the cat among the pigeons in the "group of death."

Author: Ben Knight
Editor: Sean Sinico

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