Underdogs Denmark stun 'favourites' Netherlands

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Euro 2012: Denmark beat Netherlands 1-0
Kharkiv, Jun 10: 'The Group of Death' turned 'Group of Hell' for the Netherlands after losing to underdogs Denmark in the first match of Euro 2012 Group B at Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv.

Michael Krohn-Dehli scored the only game of the game in the 24th minute. Despite having 28 attempts on goal, the Dutch were denied on numerous occasions by Danes goalkeeper Stephan Andersen.

Bayern Munich forward Arjen Robben came close for the Oranje hitting the post twice and having two penalty appeals turned down, the Dutch side ran out of luck and looked tired and less interested in the last 10 minutes.

Jetro Willems became the youngest player at a European Championship, winning his third cap at the age of 18 years and 71 days.

Netherlands intentions were clear early on when the PSV youngster blasted a shot 35 yards out, rising over the bar. Wave of Oranje attack continued as England Premier League top-scorer Robin van Persie and Robben teamed up on the left flank, but the Arsenal striker shot wide of goal. A few minutes later, Dutch winger Ibrahim Afellay cut inside nicely and lashed a shot just over the bar.

It was all Dutch in the first 20 minutes, hardly looked like a competitive match but instead more like a training session for Bert van Marwijk's men. Passing the ball with ease and accuracy leaving the Danes shaky and confused at the back.

Then came the shocker for Netherlands, during the 24th minute, Denmark left-back Simon Poulsen dashed through the left flank and fancied a cross which rebounded straight towards Krohn-Dehli, the Brondby winger faked two defenders and unleashed a left-footed shot through Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg's legs.

Holland fans couldn't believe it, the Danes seem to have found their 1992 spirit and were on course to upset the 'high-fliers' of Europe. Frustration grew on the faces of Dutch players but they kept their cool and moved forward.

Netherlands Ron Vlaar, playing at the heart of defence in place of injured Joris Mathijsen, rose above all to meet Robben's corner only to head wide, while left-back Poulsen was lucky not to have conceded a penalty after handling the ball.

Dutch came close to equalise in the 36th minute, when keeper Andersen's poor pass found Robben outside the penalty area, the winger hit the post with a left-footed shot.

Van Marwijk's side lost their composure and cool as the Danes managed to keep the ball and looked threatening whenever they moved forward. Right-back Lars Jacobsen flew down the right channel and found himself in acres of space, but his cross was met by Niki Zimling, who tried to volley it much to the frustration of goal-scorer Krohn-Dehli. Moments later Krohn-Dehli was determined to make a mark when his angled shot was saved by Stekelenburg.

At the other end, Van Persie should've equalised but his poor first touch took him wide and Andersen was able to zero-in and block the Gunners right-footed shot.

During the second half, the Dutch continued to control possession but were unable to break open the well organised Danish defence. Despite all the possession, the Dutch failed to level and their opponents looked dangerous on the break.

Poulsen managed to sneak through into the box, but his cross found none of the Denmark players and Krohn Dehli's low shot was well saved by Stekelenburg.

Meanwhile, Van Marwijk decided to bring on qualifying top-scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Rafael van der Vaart. The substitution almost got them a goal when Sneijder's outside-of-the-boot pass met Huntelaar only to be blocked by brave keeper Andersen and the follow-up from Van Persie ended in a free kick for Danes.

The Dutch pushed forward with Sneijder taking control in the middle, during the 89th minute, the Dutch players were stunned when the Slovenian referee Damir Skomina denied the spot kick after Jacobsen handled the ball in the box.

Denmark, led by skipper Daniel Agger, looked shaky at the start but after scoring the goal, the Danes regained confidence and played keep-ball towards the end of the game and repeated the heroics of 1992.

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