Holland have now got it all to do to in Group B after Michael Krohn-Dehli gave Denmark their first victory over the Dutch since 1967.
Holland stuck with the 4-2-3-1 formation which helped them reach the World Cup Final, with Van Persie getting the nod over Huntelaar up front, Willems getting his chance at left back and Vlaar being chosen to partner Heitinga in defence.
Both teams started the game slowly with Holland looking content to pass the ball around at a slow tempo and ease themselves into the game. They did however create the first real chance of the match in the 17th minute when Arjen Robben’s cross from inside the penalty area was scrambled away by the Denmark defence.
Robben’s decision to cross the ball instead of shooting looked even more costly in the 24th minute when Michael Krohn-Dehli gave Denmark the lead against the run of play. Simon Poulsen rebounded cross found Krohn-Dehli in the box, who sold Johnny Heitinga a brillaint dummy to give himself the space to fire the ball between Stekelengburg’s legs and into the back of the net.
Holland then created chance after chance but failed to convert any of them, with Robben hitting the post, Van Bommel forcing a good save from Andersen and substitute Huntelaar missing a guilt edged chance that he probably should have scored. Holland also thought they should have been awarded two penalties in the game after two handballs by Denmark in the box but neither decision went the Dutch’s way.
Holland had 55.5% of the possession in this match and completed an impressive 90% of their 517 passes, 6% more than Denmark who completed 84% of their 408 passes. The Dutch also made 150 of their 517 passes in the final third of the pitch with 83.33% of them being successful.
However, even with their impressive passing statistics Holland failed to impress in front of goal as the only managed to get 5 of their 32 attempts on goal on target. This was compared to Denmark, who managed to get 50% (4) of their 8 attempts on goal on target – one less than Holland.
Denmark put on an impressive defensive display in Kharkiv, winning 100% of the 17 tackles that they made during the game (Agger and Kjaer starring). They also managed to make 18 interceptions (Daniel Agger topping with 7 interceptions) and blocked 5 of Holland’s shots on goal.
Holland, on the other hand looked shaky in defence with Willems’ inexperience showed at times and Heitinga and Vlaar looking uninspiring as a centre back partnership. However, Holland did make 100% of their six headed clearances and won 4 out of their 7 aerial duels during the match.
Holland’s Premier League Players
Holland included three Premier League players in their starting XI, Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie, Manchester City’s Nigel De Jong and Everton’s Johnny Heitinga, with Tottenham’s Rafael Van der Vaart and former Liverpool player Dirk Kuyt coming off the bench.
Robin Van Persie did nothing to back up his managers decision to pick him in front of Klass-Jan Huntelaar as he missed some big chances and only managed to get 2 of his 8 shots on target. Van Persie did keep hold of the ball well when he got it though, as he found a team-mate with 96% of his 27 passes and created 2 chances for his team.
Apart from maybe doing better for the Denmark goal, Johnny Heitinga had impressive defensive statistics during this match. He made 100% of his 5 clearances, made 100% of his 2 headed clearances and won the only aerial duel that he had during the game. Heitinga also made 3 interceptions and won 1 of his 2 tackles that he made during the game.
Nigel De Jong did exactly what was asked of him for Holland making himself available for the ball and playing it short for the more attacking players to influence the game. De Jong completed 98% of his passes 48 passes during the game, with his only misplaced pass coming from a long ball. However, 43 of these 48 passes were short passes. De Jong however, only made one tackle and two interceptions during the match (which he did successfully).
All statistics from this article were taken Four Four Two Stats Zone Euro 2012 app.
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