It’s Day 2 and we’ve got a couple of potentially huge games. First up is the meeting of two past winners in this competition – The Netherlands and Denmark.
As always, we’d love your thoughts on today’s football. Leave a comment below, email email@example.com or tweet us @thescore_ie.
Holland 0-1 Denmark
16.42 – Good afternoon, all. After months of anticipation, the 14th European championships got off to a flyer yesterday with Russia taking an early lead in Group A after their convincing win over the Czech Republic, while co-hosts Poland and Greece playing out an entertaining 1-1 draw.
Today it’s the turn of 1988 winners Holland, or The Netherlands if you prefer, and Denmark, who shocked the continent four years later by lifting the Henri Delaunay despite only gaining entry after Yugoslavia pulled out.
Kick-off isn’t far away now.
16.48 – This is how the teams will line out at Kharkiv’s Metalist Stadium:
Holland: Stekelenburg, Van Der Wiel, Heitinga, Vlaar, Willems, Van Bommel, Nigel De Jong, Robben, Sneijder, Afellay, van Persie. Subs: Vorm, Mathijsen, Bouma, Kuyt, Huntelaar, Schaars, Strootman, Luuk De Jong, Narsingh, Boulahrouz, Van der Vaart, Krul.
Denmark: Andersen, Jacobsen, Kjaer, Agger, Simon Poulsen, Kvist Jorgensen, Zimling, Rommedahl, Eriksen, Krohn-Delhi, Bendtner. Subs: Lindegaard, Christian Poulsen, Bjelland, Okore, Schone, Silberbauer, Pedersen, Wass, Jakob Poulsen, Kahlenberg, Mikkelsen, Schmeichel.
16.58 – Only holders Spain and the heavily-backed Germans are shorter odds than Bert van Marwijk’s Dutch side, who has an embarrassment of talent to chose from. As well possessing the likes of Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie in attack, he also has the luxury of being able to call upon Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Rafael van der Vaart and the highly-rated Kevin Strootman if necessary.
17.01 – The Danes will rely on Ajax’s young playmaker Christian Eriksen for creativity while Liverpool’s Daniel Agger and Simon Kjaer of Roma are tasked with keeping Van Perie under wraps.
We’re seconds away now.
Credit: EMPICS Sport/EMPICS Sport
17.03 – Early free-kick awarded to the Danes and they have the first effort on goal – a glancing header by Agger, which Maarten Stekelenburg holds comfortably.
17.08 – At 18 years and 71 days Dutch full-back Jetro Willems becomes the youngest ever player to feature at this tournament today. The PSV Eindhoven defender clearly isn’t showing nerves and strides forward before drilling a strike over the bar.
17.13 – I personally fancy Arsenal’s in-form striker Van Persie to pick up the Golden Boot this time around but he won’t be winning any awards with finishing like that. The 28-year-old, who topped the goalscoring charts in the Premier League last season, sidefoots wide on his favoured left side from 10 yards out.
They are finding space in the final third however and if it continues this way it won’t be long before they break the deadlock.
17.21 – Van Persie is handed another opportunity in front of goal, this time from a free-kick on the edger of the opposing side’s box, but slips in the run-up.
Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben, meanwhile, shoots on sight but sees Stephan Andersen collect. Minutes later, the former Chelsea man breaks down the right and cuts the ball back into an area which Sneijder and Ibrahim Afellay are lurking. Lars Jacobsen makes a last-ditch interception however, to deny a certain goal.
17.26 – GOAL! Holland 0-1 Denmark (Michael Krohn-Dehli)
Football, bloody hell! They may have been bossing the opening third of this game but Holland incredibly find themselves behind. Left back Simon Poulsen advances out wide before picking out the run of Krohn-Dehli and the Brondy midfielder drives into the box and fires the ball through the legs of Stekelenburg.
17.39 – Denmark have found their feet somewhat since taking the lead but very nearly gifted their opponents a goal there. Andersen plays a pass directly to Robben, who steps inside and crackes the post from the inside the ‘d’.
17.42 – Barcelona winger Afellay, who missed a fair chunk of the season through injury, is next to try his luck after going by Agger’s attempted tackle excellently. It’s always rising however, and sails over.
17.48 – HALF-TIME: Holland 0-1 Denmark
Van Persie is put through but his first touch lets him down badly and another player with an Arsenal history, Niklas Bendtner, heads into the arms of Stekelenburg before the whistle is blown to signal half-time.
17.50 – So the Dutch dominate but can’t find the back of the net. Did they use up all their scoring prowess in training?
YouTube credit: MrBoywunder1
17.59 – The RTE panel, Messrs Hamann, Sadlier and Dunphy, laying into Holland’s defence and in fairness they were bad for the goal. Predicting Van Marwijk changes things up by possibly introducing Rafael van der Vaart. Huntelaar also an option.
18.04 – Here we go again then. Is the first upset of this tournament on the cards or the Oranje live up to their reputation?
18.10 – Oh dear, it’s not been Robin van Persie’s day so far. You’d have put your house on him converting one of the chances that have come his way so far and he completely slips when in an excellent position during the latest attack.
Midfield veteran Mark van Bommel, who is playing in a deep-lying role alongside Nigel de Jong, then has a pop from distance which Andersen parries away, while Afellay isn’t far from finding the target moments later.
18.16 – Despite it being one-way traffic for the most part, Poulsen gets down the left and offers one of his team-mates a super chance to double their side’s lead with a ball across goal but there is no one on-hand to take advantage.
18.18 – Sneijder with the free-kick from 30 yards… but strikes the wall.
Camera cuts to the far sideline, where several Holland substitutes are warming up. Only a matter of time before we see a change now.
18.27 – CNN’s Pedro Pinto just reminded me of this pair. Being follicly challenged, I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Denmark’s very own version of the Mitchell brothers – Thomas Gravesen and Stig Tofting. Never ones to shy away from confrontation, as the picture suggests.
Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images
18.30 – Double substitution for Holland, who have 20 minutes to salvage something here. De Jong is off for Van der Vaart and ‘The Hunter’ Klass-Jan Huntelaar comes on in place of Afellay.
18.35 – What a ball Sneijder has just played with the outside of this boot to unlock the Danish defence. Huntelaar collects but can only find the body of Andersen with his effort.
Eriksen, who plies his trade in the Eredivisie with Ajax, is withdrawn in place of Lasse Shone.
18.44 – 1-0 down with six minutes on the clock? Surely this calls for a bit of Dirk Kurt magic. The former Liverpool man is introduced with Gregory van der Wiel making way.
Dennis Rommedahl, once of Charlton Athletic, isn’t too happy to learn he won’t play any further part as he has been substituted for Tobias Mikkelsen.
18.51 – Late penalty shout, ahoy! Huntelaar takes the ball down on his chest but Jacobsen takes it off him with may have been an arm before it strikes the defender there. Waved away though and this is looking like a huge defeat for Holland here.
18.52 – FULL-TIME: Holland 0-1 Denmark
19.00 – That’s that then. As if the Group of Death wasn’t daunting enough already, Holland now go into games with Germany and Portugal knowing a second defeat could send one of the favourites for the tournament home early.
It’s not as if they didn’t have enough chances to win it. 29 shots, nine of which were on target, but the finishing was poor and I was particularly surprised with Van Persie, who was horribly off-form.
All credit to Denmark though, they weren’t spectacular but were dogged and, crucially, converted one of the rare real opportunities they were presented with. Loving this group already… bring on Germany v Portugal!