Euro 2012 Preview: Netherlands vs Denmark

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Euro 2012 Preview: Netherlands vs Denmark
Kharkiv, Jun 9: Group B 'The Group of Death' kicks off on June 9 when the mighty Netherlands take on Denmark at Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv.

Both teams played two years ago during the World Cup. The Dutch outclassed the Danes in all areas and won 2-0. Termed underdogs in the Group, Denmark have a tough task considering the likes of Netherlands, Germany and a not-so good Portugal side.

Participation in previous competition seems far behind and history. In their eight European Championships and four World Cup appearances, Denmark made their mark two decades ago when they were crowned Euro 1992 winners, thanks to Yugoslavia, who were banned from the competition which allowed the Danes to participate. In the semi-finals, the Danish side also managed to beat Netherlands in a penalty shoot-out and lifted the trophy after a 2-0 win over the Germans.

Finishing on top of the qualifying group, Denmark pipped Portugal with only 15 goals but compared to the Dutch, who scored the highest with 37 goals, it is easy to identify the outcome of the Group opener. Looking at the recent friendly results, the Oranje may be a world-class team but lack consistency winning just three out of their last seven games.

Klass Jan Huntelaar, top-scored with 12 goals during the qualifying stage. But will coach Bert van Marwijk opt for the Bundesliga striker or English Premier League's most prolific goal-scorer Robin Van Persie, remains to be the big question.

Midfield is the engine for any team, and for the Dutch, they are filled with the best in the world. Arjen Robben, Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sniejder are a few names who can make a massive difference individually.

Joris Mathijsen was ruled out of the game due to a hamstring injury. Ron Vlaar or Wilfred Bouma are likely partner Everton's Johnny Heitinga at the heart of the defence.

With Netherlands patient build up, the Danes have to wait their chance and try to counter attack. The only hope for Denmark will be veteran forward Dennis Rommedahl and young winger Christian Eriksen who can run down the flanks and provide accurate crosses to striker Niklas Bendtner. Stephan Andersen will start in goal for Denmark in the absence of regular Thomas Sorensen.

PROBABLE LINE-UPS:

Netherlands: Stekelenburg-Van der Wiel, Heitinga, Bouma, Willems-De Jong, Van Bommel-Robben, Sneijder, Van der Vaart-Van Persie.

Denmark: Andersen-Jacobsen, Kjaer, Agger, S Poulsen-C Poulsen, Kvist-Rommedahl, Eriksen, Krohn-Dehli-Bendtner.

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