The European Championships are under way and now it’s the turn of the aptly named ‘Group of Death’, Group B, and first up its Holland vs Denmark, with the former confident of a tournament win.
Much has been made of Holland’s championship bid this summer after narrowly losing to Spain at the World Cup two years ago, with many pundits and certainly bookmakers cementing the Dutch as second favourites to win in Poland and Ukraine.
Holland coach Bert van Marwijk knows that he has the pressure of an expectant nation. With a group of players including Robin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben, failure to beat Denmark will be seen as a disastrous start, given the other two teams in Group B are Germany and Portugal.
20 years have passed since Denmark upset the odds and claimed the Euro 1992 championship in Sweden, and the heroics of Peter Schmeichel and Kim Vilfort will want to be repeated by the current Danish squad. They can call upon one the most exciting prospects in European football in the shape of Ajax starlet Christian Eriksen.
The Danes have only beaten Holland once since 1967, however that victory was on the way to their 1992 tournament win, and a victory in the opening match of the group could really enhance their qualifying chances given the competitive nature of the group.
Holland have injury concerns in the shape of defender Joris Mathijsen who will miss out with a hamstring injury, meaning Bert van Marwijk will face the tough choice between Wilfred Bouma or Ron Vlaar with the former not having played a single qualifier.
For Denmark Thomas Sorensen was ruled out of the tournament with a back injury so Stephan Andersen comes in between the sticks, but their most notable injury doubt is key midfielder Niki Zimling who was taken to hospital on Friday following an injury in training.
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