Holland dominated possession, but were very wasteful in their finishing and paid the price with a shock 1-0 defeat to Denmark.
The Oranje are among the favourites for the victory after losing the 2010 World Cup Final to Spain and qualifying with flying colours. Serie A familiar faces included Inter’s Wesley Sneijder and Roma goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, while Juventus Coach Antonio Conte was in the stands to watch Robin van Persie. Mark van Bommel left Milan this summer, while the 1992 Euro winners included Giallorossi defender Simon Kjaer and Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner.
Jetro Willems became the youngest ever European Championship player at the tender age of 18 and fired just over the bar in the opening minutes. Arjen Robben burst into the box and tried to pull across for Sneijder rather than go for goal, allowing Denmark to intercept.
Holland dominated possession, but it was Denmark who broke the deadlock with their first real foray forward. Simon Poulsen started the move down the left and a lucky ricochet sent Michael Krohn-Dehli through to nutmeg Stekelenburg with an angled drive at the near post.
There were Dutch complaints for a handling offence, but the ball clearly bounced awkwardly to hit Poulsen’s arm, so a penalty would’ve been extremely harsh.
Robben pounced on a terrible Stephan Anderson clearance only for his curler to smack the base of the upright on 36 minutes. Ibrahim Afellay blasted over, while Krohn-Delhi failed to get a second for the Danes when a teammate tried to go for the same ball.
Van Persie was clear on goal before the break, but his first touch let him down and he fired straight at the on-rushing goalkeeper.
After the restart, van Persie again slipped at the crucial moment, then a timid angled drive was well smothered. Van Bommel unleashed a rocket that Andersen palmed just past the near post, while an Afellay daisy-cutter skimmed the woodwork.
Stekelenburg beat away another Krohn-Dehli attempt, as Holland seemed to be running out of ideas. Substitute Klaas Jan Huntelaar should’ve put them level, but Andersen showed bravery to rush off his line and close down the former Milan striker plus van Persie’s follow-up.
Holland had a penalty shout for a Lars Jacobsen handball in the final minute, but the referee waved play on. In the end Holland had 28 shots on goal, but couldn't convert any of them.
Holland 0-1 Denmark
Scorers: Krohn-Dehli 24 (D)
Holland: Stekelenburg; van der Wiel (Kuyt 85), Heitinga, Vlaar, Willems; N De Jong (van der Vaart 71), van Bommel; Robben, Sneijder, Afellay (Huntelaar 71); van Persie
Denmark: Andersen; Jacobsen, Kjaer, Agger, S Poulsen; Kvist, Zimling; Rommedahl (Mikkelsen 84), Eriksen (Schone 74), Krohn-Dehli; Bendtner
Ref: Skomina (Svn)
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