The Netherlands produced a workmanlike performance to beat Denmark 2-0 at Johannesburg Soccer City to claim all three points in this afternoon’s 2010 FIFA World Cup Group E match.
Denmark held out for 45 minutes and even created the best chance of the first half when Rommedahl and Bendtner combined, with the former knocking a great cross over to the latter, whose header was weak from a good position on the edge of the 6 yard box.
Everything good for Denmark was going through Rommedahl at this stage, though Denmark failed to capitalise on their two or three good chances in the first period which they edged in terms of good shooting chances.
Netherlands produced plenty of good possession in the first 45 without really creating a clear-cut chance, however, in the second period, it took them only 50 seconds to get the goal they needed to settle the nerves when Denmark’s converted left-back Poulsen headed into Danial Aggers back in another World Cup 2010 horror story that ended with an own goal.
Following this own goal, Denmark looked deflated and, particularly when Bendtner left the field to be replaced by Beckmann on the hour mark, they looked unlikely to stage any sort of comeback.
1-0 would have been the fair result here, and so it looked like staying until Netherlands’ speedy left-midfielder Elia, who had been brought on for Van der Vaar with 20 minutes remaining, was picked out by the ever-industrious Sneider with a slide-rule pass. Sorensen made an excellent finger-tip save low to his left, though he was only able to knock the shot onto the post. From the rebound, it was Dirk Kuyt, as ever, who reacted faster than the strolling Kjaer to grab himself an open netted goal to add a sheen to the scoreline.
Netherlands would have made it 3-0 but for an excellent goal-line clearance from Poulsen off Afellay (on for van Persie) which went some way to making ammends for his earlier indiscretion.
That 46th minute own goal had, however, completely knocked the stuffing out of Denmark, and, as is fast becoming a World Cup 2010 tradition, it was an error at the back that would prove to be the key moment rather than any attacking inspiration.
Netherlands lead Group E with three points, and Denmark must hope that they show more ambition going forwards against Cameroon and Japan or they must face the prospect of being left in third or even fourth place in this tricky group.
For the Netherlands, this was a comfortable enough victory to get their campaign underway, but they must hope to show more in attack when they meet higher quality teams later in the tournament, however, having rested Arjen Robben today, and looked better when the impressive and incisive Elia came on, they will feel they have plenty in the locker for those later stages.