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|EURO 2012 Analysis: Wasteful Dutch make life tougher for themselves in the Group of Death|
Netherlands began their Euro 2012 journey with a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of underdogs Denmark in the opening game of Group B at the Metalist Stadium on Saturday.
The Dutch were clearly in the mood to justify their tag as one of the ‘favourites’ to win the tournament as they steamrolled their opposition in the first quarter of the game.
Having started the game in a usual 4-2-3-1 formation, Netherlands enjoyed the lion’s share of possession from the very start. However, the lack of cutting edge meant that the Oranje had nothing to show for all their efforts.
With the in-form Dutchman Robin Van Persie leading the line, things could have easily got out of control for the Danes had the Arsenal striker taken his chances with the kind of sharpness he usually possesses. The likes of Afellay and Robben cutting inside from either flank were a handful for the Danish defence. Wesley Sneijder, who was deployed behind the lone striker, had a commanding game for the Dutch. Suave movement and incisive passing opened up the gritty Danish defence on countless occasions.
Having had an exceptional season for his club, Robin Van Persie was touted to be the top scorer of the tournament and was considered as one player who would make a huge difference to his side. However, as the game went on it was more and more evident that it was not going to be his day. Heavy first touch, lack of composure, inaccurate attempts were the highlights of Van Persie’s dreadful evening.
One would expect an attacking pair that boasts 85 goals between them to do much better when it comes to finishing off chances. The Dutch repeatedly failed to show the same ruthlessness in converting the opportunities into goals as they did to create them and it was just a matter of time when their wastefulness got punished. The Dutch were left shell-shocked on the 24th minute when Poulsen’s cross deflected onto the path of Michael Krohn Dehli who did brilliantly to nutmeg the Dutch defence and struck a superb left footed shot past Stekelenburg’s between his legs.
Denmark held on for a crucial victory as they produced the first big shock of the tournament and took an invaluable lead at the top of the group table. Defeat for Netherlands meant that they have no option but to beat the likes of Germany and Portugal now in order to progress beyond the group stages. But the lack of composure in front of goal could be a huge blow to the Dutch hopes as chances will be hard to come by now against far better oppositions.
The result ensured that the race for qualification from Group B remains wide open for every other participating team.