Netherlands 0 Denmark 1: Michael Krohn-Dehli seals shock victory
Michael Krohn-Dehli's first-half goal hands Denmark a surprise win over the Netherlands in the Euro 2012 Group B opener
Michael Krohn-Dehli’s cool finish handed Denmark a surprise victory over a wasteful Netherlands side in their Euro 2012 Group B opener on Saturday.
The 29-year-old winger darted through the Holland defence and expertly slotted his shot past Maarten Stekelenburg mid-way through the first half to hand the Danes victory in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Holland had dominated for most of the game and created chances galore but came up short in front of goal as Denmark held firm to move top of the group ahead of Germany’s clash with Portugal later on Saturday.
Van Persie, favoured ahead of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar up front, spurned the first real opening in the seventh minute when his low effort from Arjen Robben’s cut-back fizzed wide of Stephan Andersen’s left-hand post.
The Netherlands could have edged into the lead in the 18th minute but Lars Jacobsen was on hand to block Robben’s low cross with Van Persie lurking at the far post.
Holland looked comfortable in the opening exchanges but Denmark took the lead against the run of play in the 24th minute when Krohn-Dehli picked up a loose ball and slotted a cool left-footed finish through Stekelenburg’s legs.
Despite falling behind, the Dutch continued to create the better chances in front of goal and Robben saw his shot bounce off the post in the 37th minute after Andersen’s sloppy clearance gifted the Bayern Munich striker a glorious opportunity to pull his country level.
Van Persie then spurned another opening after being fed by Wesley Sneijder, with the Arsenal striker’s low shot well saved by Andersen as the first half drew to a close.
The PFA Player of the Year came close to levelling immediately after the restart but he slipped at the vital moment, allowing Denmark to clear.
It was followed by a superb long-range effort from Mark Van Bommel which was beaten wide by Andersen, as the Netherlands unleashed their 18th effort on Denmark’s goal.
Hunterlaar was thrown into the fray with Rafael van der Vaart in the 70th minute as Holland boss Bert van Marwijk looked to mastermind a turnaround – and the Schalke striker could have equalised almost immediately but his dinked effort was kept out by Andersen.
Holland could have had a penalty in the 90th minute when Jacobsen appeared to handle the ball in the box but referee Damir Skomina waved away the vociferous protests as Denmark clung on for the victory.