Netherlands 0 Denmark 1: Grim Reapers of Group B

When the Groups for the EURO 2012 tournament was announced, Group B was billed the ‘Group of Death’. Comprising of the likes of Holland, Germany and Portugal, it was a group that contained contenders for the title.

Few gave Denmark hope that they would be able to get to the knockout stages, but Denmark have most certainly signaled their intent to go to Poland/Ukraine just for a short holiday, they were most certainly in it to win it.

Taking in All the Crosses

What impressed me a lot was Denmark number 1 Andersen’s ability to take up most of the crosses over the duration of the match. It essentially stifled out the threat of The Oranje’s corners and crosses throughout the entire match.

The 11 corners from Holland were very well dealt with by Denmark, and they managed to stop big players like Robin van Persie and Heitinga from getting their heads onto the ball.

The Goal

Well, Denmark defended well for the majority of the game, and there were very few defensive lapses from the men in white (well, except that mis-cued pass by Anderson which led to a Robben shot that cannoned off the post), whilst Netherlands were let down by a few defensive lapses.

Krohn-Dehli indeed did very well to deceive the defenders with that fake shot that he conjured up, but the Holland defenders turned their backs on the ball and allowed him to get the space to get a 1-on-1 with Stekelenburg, before slotting it between the keeper’s legs. The keeper perhaps subject to some sloppy footwork, but some creativity there from Krohn-Dehli, no doubt.

Clinical Denmark

What won Denmark the game? Well, they were far more clinical with their shooting. Holland were way to snatched at their shots and many went off target as a result. Whilst Ibrahim Afellay made a few chances for himself, he had shots that were badly finished.

Holland could have done better to direct their shots at goal, and this can be seen in the diagram I have below:

How Denmark Played

Reflecting on the game, it is pretty clear as to how Denmark set out to play. They expected Daniel Agger and Kjaer to form a strong partnership at the back, and they flooded three areas of attack and midfield, this being the two wings and the center of the ball park.

They had players to support the wingers, along with help to get the ball into the box, coupled with players rushing into that box to try and take their chances. Had they not scored, I wouldn’t doubt the possibility that they would have done this more often over the duration of the match.

The full-backs were essentially playing high up the pitch, and this allowed them to keep the ball higher up the pitch.

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