Michael Krohn-Dehli Stuns the Group of Death (Netherlands vs Denmark)

Despite taking 29 shots on goal and getting 11 corner kicks, the Netherlands failed to find a way through the Danish defense and the safe hands of Stpehan Andersen. Michael Krohn-Dehli was the only player to score a goal, as Denmark stunned the Dutch with a shocking 1-0 win to open up Group B, the group of death.

Damir Skomina of Slovenia and his crew is the next referee to make two terrible decisions so early in the tournament, missing two clear handballs by Denmark players. Once by Simon Poulsen in the first half and one by Lars Jacobsen late in the second half.

Denmark shouldn’t be 10th in the world, and shouldn’t have won the match. But maybe we’re all wrong? Both head coaches used a similar lineup, but Denmark, despite getting less chances, seemed to be much more comfortable with the ball in the rare opportunities. Krohn-Dehli kept shifting with Christian Eriksen towards the middle, also scoring the goal through that move.

Not enough help for the front foursome meant the Denmark always had the upper hand during the Dutch attacks, with Van Persie getting ample opportunities, but none of them too comfortable or easy to score from. Arjen Robben? His usual selfish and unlucky self (one shot hitting the post). He had one opportunity in the first half when he should have taken the shot instead of pass the ball, making the wrong decision again.

The difference in the moment when Denmark were the better side was how their central midfielders joined the front four. William Kvist and Niki Zimling were simply better than the ineffective Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong, who didn’t add enough to the offensive efforts.

Bert van Marwijk’s offensive substitutions did add to the pressure on Andersen’s goal, while Van Bommel made more forward moves  and Robben and Van Persie kept missing. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Van der Vaart, with Dirk Kuyt as a very late sub all created the most offensive and attacking formation the Dutch could come up with.

But they weren’t accurate enough or quick enough in the ‘red zone’, making it easier for the Danish defense and midfield to handle the constant and growing pressure. Too much emphasis on individual skill and not enough team play, while the Danes attacked much less, but looked much more in-sync when attacking. Having a weak Dutch defense to face made it easier for Denmark to look dangerous.

The group of death is now all messed up. Denmark made a huge step towards qualifying while putting a huge amount of pressure on the Netherlands to win the next two matches and for Germany and Portugal to not lose their opening match, coming up next.

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