Holland: The Dutch may not be quite the same team that gained a reputation for free-flowing attacking football. Under Bert van Marwijk, the squad has tried to re-cast itself as one that focuses on responsible football, more than anything else, as the former Dutch international said in an interview with UEFA. While not ruling out pure attacking displays, Marwijk's in the recent past have been aimed at a balancing act and, as was evident from recent friendlies, the team has moved to a more open style but without, so far as they can succeed in doing so, sacrificing the basic structure that took them to the final in South Africa.
Denmark: The Danes arrive at the Championships with memories of their magnificent European triumph 20 years ago. Unfortunately, they may have to return to Copenhagen with little other than those memories. They have been handed the Group of Death, with Holland, Portugal and Germany for company. While, as both Marwijk and German coach Joachim Low will tell you, there can be no room for complacency at this level, the odds must surely be stacked against Denmark. In truth though, they aren't a bad side and in almost any other group, you'd fancy their chances of making it out of there. Much depends, for Martin Olsen's side, on the kind of performances 20 year old Christian Eriksen can produce. While it is perhaps unfair to place such a burden on so young a pair of shoulders, the Ajax playmaker is not being courted by the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and some Spanish clubs for nothing. If the Dutch are not careful, then he could well lead them a merry dance.
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Team News: Dutch defender Joris Mathijsen has been ruled out of this tie after the 32 year old failed to recover in time from a hamstring injury. PSV's Wilfred Bouma and Feyenoord's Ron Vlaar will compete to partner Everton's John Heitinga at the centre of Holland's defence.
Denmark lost midfielder Niki Zimling to injury during Friday's training session and are likely to bring ex-Liverpool player Christian Poulsen into the starting line-up as replacement. Otherwise Olsen will probably name the same team that beat Australia 2-0 in a friendly last week.
Nevertheless, van Marwijk still has three selection headaches:
1) Who will partner Mark van Bommel in the centre of the midfield? The options are - the attacking Rafael van der Vaart, the enforcer Nigel de Jong and 22 year old PSV Eindhoven star Kevin Strootman, who is a compromise between attack and defence but lacks the experience at this level.
2) Who will start on the left wing? The veteran Dirk Kuyt or the in-form Ibrahim Afellay, who seems to have found a remarkable understanding with Robin van Persie.
3) Who will be the central striker? The toughest question yet. Arsenal's van Persie was in sublime form for the Gunners this domestic season, winning the PFA Player of the Year award and the Premier League Golden Boot. However, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored more goals than the Gunners skipper last season and has delivered whenever he got the opportunity for the Oranje.
If Jetro Willems starts at left-back, the 18 year old Dutchman will become the youngest player ever to feature in the European Championships
Denmark have won six of the last eight official matches, while Holland have won just three of the last seven
The last meeting between the two teams was in the 2010 World Cup, which the Oranje won 2-0
Probable starting line-up:
Holland: Stekelenburg; van der Wiel, Heitinga, Vlaar, Willems; Strootman, van Bommel; Sneijder, Afellay, Robben; van Persie
Denmark: Andersen; Jacobsen, Kjaer, Agger, S Poulsen; C Poulsen, Kvist; Rommedahl, Krohn-Dehli, Eriksen; Bendtner
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