Denmark shock Holland in Kharkiv

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Denmark pulled off an unlikely victory in the opening Group B fixture at Euro 2012, defeating much fancied Holland by a single goal.

The Dutch side missed a host of chances in throughout the match, but looked subdued after Michael Krohn-Dehli finished stylishly against the run of play mid-way through the first half.

Holland were dominant as expected in the opening period of the first half and it seemed inevitable they would open the scoring when chances were carved out for Robin van Persie and Ibrahim Afellay in the opening ten minutes.

However, this would be a theme throughout the game and Denmark looked content to soak up pressure before attempting to hit their opponents on the break.

Arjen Robben looked very threatening in the first half and he produced the first save out of Stephan Andersen in the Denmark goal.

The Bayern Munich winger was guilty of holding onto the ball too long when teammates were in better positions, but it is hardly the first time that has been said of him.

Holland’s profligacy came back to haunt them in the 24th minute when full-back Christian Poulsen was allowed to carry the ball down the left and his cross deflected to Michael Krohn-Dehli on the edge of the area.

The forward dummied a shot to fool two defenders in orange and then slipped a left-footed shot through the legs of Maarten Stekelenberg to give the Danes an undeserved lead.

Holland’s defence had looked shaky on the counter-attack and Denmark‘s game plan seemed to be working perfectly, so Krohn-Dehli's classy finish was against the run of play but not a great surprise.

Robben almost got his side back into it eight minutes before the break when he picked up an awful Andersen kick, but his low shot from the edge of the box bounced back off the post – once again, he could have passed to an orange shirt in a better position.

Van Persie had the best opportunity to equalise on the stroke of half time when he was played in by Wesley Sneijder, but his touch let him down and the chance was gone.

It was the story of the game for Holland as a number of chances went begging in the second half, but Denmark’s centre-backs Daniel Agger and Simon Kjaer were very impressive in making important challenges.

Even bringing on their other goal-machine from last season, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, could not change the their fortunes and he was as guilty as Van Persie in squandering chances.

Denmark had impressive resolution, however, and none of Bert van Marwijk’s blustering on the sideline could inspire his tired looking side to make the breakthrough.

The most telling statistic from the game was the 28 attempts Holland had on the opposition goal, but Denmark would not be denied and they completed what was looks like being one of the biggest shocks of the tournament.

Robin Van Persie
Arjen Robben
Daniel Agger
Christian Poulsen

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