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Rotterdam is painted
orange and Holland must be feeling lucky,
after a dubious penalty decision gave them a late winner against the Czech Republic. It
would be hard to say that the Dutch deserved to win after the Czechs played so valiantly.
But three points they have and they'll be looking for another three to take into the game
against World Champions, France.
If they're already thinking about that match,
to win the group and stay in Holland, they may find Denmark give them a little surprise.
It has been said that the Dutch players are not concentrating on their openenants,
prefering a game of cards to watching the match. How focused they are on the day is what
is important, as they haven't qualified yet. Jaap Stam is also expected to miss the
Denmark game, after he injured his groin in training.
Denmark can not be serious
contenders for the European Champions title this time around -- they won the 1992 European
Championships in Sweden, as surprise replacements for the disqualified Yugoslavia -- but
they will have studied how the Czechs held Holland for so long and will be hoping to do
Denmark beat the Italians 3-2 in Italy, last
September, and drew 2-2 with Belgium in a recent friendly; Schmeichel converting from a
penalty. The Coventry City of European Football will be relying heavily on Peter
Schmeichel to stop the leaks.
The scoreline of the France -- Denmark game
makes the Scandinavians look like the no-hopers here, but in Peter Schmeichel they still
have one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He added the Portuguese Champions medal to
his collection this season.
Schmeichel knows all about the threats Dennis
Bergkamp and Marc Overmars pose up front and will be screaming at his defenders as usual.
Whether they hear him above the noise will be another matter.
The fact that Jan Heintze plays for PSV
Eindhoven, Jesper Gronkjaer for Ajax and Jon Dahl Tomasson for Feyenoord will not help
Denmark much, as most of the Dutch players ply their trade abroad.
Denmark need to frustrate Holland and stop
them from playing their game, like the Czechs did in the Amsterdam Arena, and then pray
that the referee doesn't do the home nation any favours again.
2-Michael Schjonberg, 3-Rene Henriksen, 5-Jan Heintze, 12-Soren Colding
7-Allan Nielsen, 19-Morten Bisgaard, 20-Thomas Gravesen, 8-Jesper Gronkjaer
9-Jon Dahl Tomasson, 11-Ebbe Sand
1- Edwin van der Sar
2-Michael Reiziger, 13-Bert Konterman, 4-Frank de Boer, 12-Giovanni van Bronckhorst
5-Boudewijn Zenden, 11-Marc Overmars, 7-Philip Cocu, 8-Edgar Davids
9-Patrick Kluivert, 10-Dennis Bergkamp
Referee: Urs Meier (Swz)
Holland met a more disciplined Danish team than the one who lost 0-3 to France. The Dutch
came into this game knowing that a win would be enough to secure their place in the 1/4
finals. The Danes also fancied their chances to get one over on the hosts and we were
treated to another 45 minutes of end to end encounters.
Although we saw no goals in the first-half
there was plenty of action. Unlike the drab encounter between Sweden and Turkey.
Schmeichel was in top form, coming off his
line to meet Kluivert as early as the second minute.
On the quarter-hour Dennis Bergkamp squeezed
his way through two defenders and earned a corner. A minute later there's a big cheer from
the Dutch fans as Cocu looks threatening. Safely Schmeichel's. And Coco is still on the
floor. The cheers turn to jeers. Jan Heintze the villain. Cocu walks off for a moment
clutching his neck and Heintze has a problem with his contact lens.
A goalmouth confusion in the 24th. Edwin van
der Sar blocks the low cross. Nielsen strikes as the ball bounces out. It hits another
Dane on the floor at van der Sar's feet and the Dutchman is relieved to have the ball
instead of pick it out of the net.
On the half-hour, Kluivert's shot is too hard
for Schmeichel as it bounces on the goalkeeper's chest and out of his hands. Peter
Schmeichel was so fast off his line that Overmars skewed his chance; the goal almost open
-- the shot wide.
There were plenty of mistake in this end to
end first-half and plenty of hefty challenges.
With ten minutes of the first-half to go
Schmeichel had to be fast off his line to block at David's feet. Another long ball by
Overmars... Senden is running. Tries to hook it back from the touchline. Goal-kick.
Denmark almost go in with a 1-0 lead. Thomas
Gravesen with a curling chip. Edwin van der Sar is beaten as the ball starts to dip....
The tall Dutchman looks up and is relieved to see the ball bounce off his bar.
Just before the hour things started going right for Holland. Once Kluivert put the Dutch
ahead it was a case of if they could get a bigger goal difference than France before their
top of the table clash for the right to stay in Holland.
The Danes even had a penalty in the 68th
minute and missed. As Ebbe Sand ran into the area with the ball, Edwin van der Sar dived
at his feet, upended the Dane and had his name entered into the Swiss referee's notebook.
Schjonberg stepped up to take the penalty and
missed the target completely -- to the right of the post -- and was duly substituted by
currently the only team with a clean sheet. Even the reserve keeper,
didn't let them down when he came on to relieve an injured van der Sar in the last minute.
0-1. Davids sends Dennis Bergkamp on a long run through the middle. To
Kluivert on the edge of the Danish area. Kluivert sees Schmeichel in position and lays the
ball back to Dennis Bergkamp. The Arsenal player strikes first time. Schmeichel is coming
out, blocks the shot but the ball bounces to Kluivert who makes no
mistake to slam the ball in an open goal; 57mins.
0-2. Zenden sends a low ball
across the face of the Danish goal. All the defenders are trying to hold a line but
substitute Ronald de Boer nips in at the far post to score through the
gap to Schmeichel's left; 66mins.
0-3. Danish throw. Gets
cleared and Reiziger is away with the ball like a sprinter. Unbelievable control at such
pace. He gets a yard on his marker and crosses for Zenden. Schmeichel has
played so well, but the rest of his team have fallen apart. The Dutch way too strong.
Sorry Denmark, but this Dutch side look fantastic going forward; 73mins.
Denmark 0 -- Holland 3. Holland and France in the 1/4 finals.
Man of the Match:
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Fri. 16th June:
Game 11 Czech Rep. - France (1-2)