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Danish treat: Oranje left red-faced

sports Updated: Jun 10, 2012 01:30 IST
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Denmark dealt the first big blow of Euro 2012 by stunning title-aspirants Netherlands 1-0, leaving the hopes of the 1988 champions hanging by a thread in the tough Group B on Saturday.

The Danes, who shocked the Dutch on their way to an unlikely triumph in 1992, calmly blunted the waves of attacks and the star-studded Netherlands squandered numerous chances to dig a hole for themselves in a group where Germany and Portugal will be their next opponents.

Sluggish Dutch
The 2010 World Cup finalists looked sluggish with those decisive passes as well as shooting, as the well-organised Danish defence as well as their poor finishing left them in danger of making a premature exit.

The creativity of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie topped the possession the Dutch enjoyed in the first half, but their finish came nowhere near their skill and the tightly-knit Denmark defence did not give much time or space for the duo to find the target. As Morten Olsen's team tactically took down Bert van Marwijk's line-up of attack-minded stars.

The Danes had eliminated them on penalties in the 1992 edition when underdogs Denmark went on win the title after coming on as a replacement team for the erstwhile Yugoslavia. As the Dutch frustration grew with near misses, the Danes gradually showed more enterprise, and that paid off in spectacular fashion in the 24th minute.

Simon Poulsen made a strong run down the left and his attempted cross was deflected on to the top off the box. Michael Krohn-Dehli sold a dummy to Heitinga and Van Bommel, drove into the area, and from eight yards out, produced a low shot through goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg's legs.

The Dutch push for a goal only met with more frustration when Robben curled a shot onto the upright with van Persie waiting unmarked inside the box. The Arsenal hitman, however, didn't grab a superb chance that came his way early in the second half when he slipped while in possession inside the box.