So tonight it will all cut loose for us. Pondering this opponent, what comes to mind is this…
1. Who the ^#@() is Michael Krohn-Dehli?
I know that name… And then it sinks in. This guy played for Ajax. Then Sparta and then RKC and then he went back to Denmark. There’s more mediocre Eredivisie players in the Danish squad ( with all due respect). There’s Pedersen, Schone, Rommedahl and Silberbauer. Not names that will panic Van Marwijk any time soon. These guys wouldn’t make it to our squad. Simon Poulsen, the AZ leftback would be the only player who’d be called up, most likely. Even Christian Eriksen, the Danish star, would have left after the prelim days were over. With Wijnaldum and Maher.
In other words: Oranje has much more quality.
Liverpool defender Daniel Agger got on the score sheet in the World Cup 2010. By beating his own goalie. The center back, playing Van Persie tonight, will most certainly remember this.
Oranje hasn’t been beaten by the Danes since 1967!!! That is, if we count matches to be decided in 90 minutes! And that is how long we’ll play tomorrow. Oranje lost 3-2 in 1967. Cruyff played his fourth cap and Wim Jansen made his debut. (We do not mention the lost semis in 1992!!)
4. Danish attack
Our defense may be a bit wobbly at times. With Denmark it’s the forwards. Their star player is Nicklas Bendtner. He was loaned out by Wenger and he scored eight goals for Sunderland in 27 games. Yes, eight. Huntelaar and Van Persie score that number after a quarter of the competition. Their other striker is Tobias Mikkelsen. Played 4 internationals, scored zero. So you know.
Team manager Morten Olsen was confronted with a late decision to be made. His midfielder Zimling ( formerly of NEC) got injured and needs to be replaced. Bert van Marwijk already knows who he will play (and that he’ll miss Mathijsen). The big question for us is: will Jetro Willems grab Scifo’s record of youngest player ever on a Euros?
Bert’s staff is making sure they cover everything. One item that came up is the low hanging sun at the start of our game. It’s skipper Mark van Bommel’s task to make sure we win the toss so he can have the Danish goalie squint his eyes…
Speaking of Van Bommel, our skipper is making his Euros debut at 35 years of age. He was injured for the Euros 2004 and not available for 2008 ( the Van Basten rift). “I am keen to play. I really want to win a trophy. I was heartbroken after the World Cup finals. I cried for days. I have never been able to watch the game ever again. And with the passing of time, I sort of regret mostly that we failed to play our own game. We were very reactive, and a bit stressed I suppose…”
Today is the day that Wesley Sneijder turns 28 years old. Isn’t that the age a player is at his peak??
Oranje: Stekelenburg; Van der Wiel, Heitinga, Vlaar, Willems; Van Bommel, De Jong; Robben, Sneijder, Afellay; Van Persie.
Denmark: Lindegaard; Jacbosen, Kjaer, Agger, S. Poulsen; Kvist, Eriksen, C. Poulsen; Rommedahl, Bendtner, Krohn-Dehli.
Venue: Metalist (Charkov)
Referee: Skomina (Slovenia)
The Sneijder pic above is made by Pim Ras