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.
16.58 – 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.
17.08 – 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.
17.59 – 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.
18.27 – 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
18.35 – 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.
18.51 – 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.
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!