Thursday, June 21, 2018

Can Holland recover from their shock opening Euro 2012 defeat?

Holland suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to group outsiders Denmark in their opening game of Euro 2012.

The Dutch had numerous chances to win the game but there profligacy in front of goal meant that the Danes claimed a memorable victory.


The Dutch performance wasn’t that poor and on another day they could have probably beaten the Danes by five or six goals.

However, the Dutch attack showed absolutely no composure in front of goal. I expected better from the likes of Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben.

Holland managed more than 20 shots on goal without finding the net, an extraordinary amount for a team in any game. I expected the Oranje to find the net at some point and I think they did as well. They just couldn’t break the Danish resistance.


Granted Denmark did get a touch of luck during the game, with penalty shouts turned away and Arjen Robben hitting the post. The Danes had earned their luck though through a resolute defensive display and a disciplined performance.

Despite Holland having so many chances the Danish central defensive partnership of Simon Kjaer and Daniel Agger were outstanding. They were also helped out by the disciplined central midfield partnership of William Kvist and Niki Zimling in front of them.


Holland went into the clash against Denmark expecting a stroll in the park. It was almost like they just expected their opponents to roll over and let them win. As they proved in the qualifiers Denmark are no pushovers and they proved hard to break down.

The Holland fans were not as confident as the players prior to the game and many predicted that they could struggle to get out of the group of death.


Holland looked very flat in their performance. Maybe it was the heat and humidity but Holland looked very flat. The Oranje had the majority of possession but didn’t make the right decisions when it really mattered.


It seems that the Dutch have defensive problems. The goal they conceded against the Danish was very preventable. Everton centre-back Johnny Heitinga turned his back on Krohn-Dehli and allowed the midfielder to waltz into the box and fire through Maarten Stekelenburg’s legs.

They have problems at left-back as well. The Dutch started with young Jetro Willems at left-back. The 18 year-old is the youngest ever participant at the European Championships. The PSV starlet didn’t have a terrible game against the Danes but his inexperience showed at times.

Against the likes of Germany or Portugal the Dutch defence could be exposed. The defensive area is definitely the Dutch’s Achilles heel. They will have to be solid against Germany on Wednesday night or they will be heading for an early trip home.


A defeat in their first game means that Holland will have to approach the game with Germany in a more offensive way. The Dutch have to get something against their old rivals and they can’t afford to play for a draw against the Germans.

Portugal attempted to play for a draw against the Germans and got defeated 1-0. In the final 15 minutes of that game Portugal showed that Germany are not rock solid at the back though.

I can possibly see Holland coach Bert Van Marwijk bringing in attacking midfielder Rafael Van der Vaart to replace the more defensive Nigel de Jong against Joachim Low’s side.


Holland claimed the European crown in 1988 for the only time in their history and in that tournament they lost the first game against the Soviet Union 1-0. Could this be a sign of another Dutch victory?

Holland came into Euro 2012 as one of the favourites to lift the trophy and I wouldn’t write them off just yet. The Dutch have the players to turn the tournament around but they have to perform in their next game or all their huge potential will have been wasted.

Can Holland recover from their shock opening Euro 2012 defeat?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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