Former Ajax man Krohn-Dehli makes the Dutch pay for their wasteful finishing despite dominating the match.
Euro 2012: Holland 0 Denmark 1
KHARKIV, Ukraine // A mixture of confusion and anger engulfed the Dutch squad after Denmark pulled off the first surprise of the European Championship last night.
Holland had 29 shots to Denmark’s eight, but one of those was converted by Michael Krohn-Dehli, a player who was deemed not good enough for Dutch giants Ajax after coming through their academy.
“It was the only dangerous action of Denmark,” Mark van Bommel, the Holland captain, said. “I’m speechless, because these three points are very important.”
Late in the match, a penalty appeal for handball was denied when the Dutch were running out of time. Lars Jacobsen appeared to touch the ball with his upper arm in the box in a duel with substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
“It is such a clear penalty, and then you likely get a draw,” Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk said.
“There were maybe 4, 5, 6 players who had a lot of chances, and the referee also had a chance,” Van Marwijk said of the penalty ruling of referee Damir Skomina.
Krohn-Dehli scored against the run of play when he picked up a loose ball close to the penalty area in the 24th minute, left two defenders standing and shot through the legs of Maarten Stekelenburg from a tight angle.
It was something Premier League top scorer Robin van Persie never got close to as Stephan Andersen, the Denmark goalkeeper, made several saves to secure the most important Danish win over Holland since the Euro 1992 semi-finals.
The Dutch came closest to scoring when Andersen gave away the ball to Arjen Robben just outside the area in the 36th minute, but the Bayern Munich winger curled his left-footer onto the far post.
Denmark, seen as outsiders in the toughest group of the tournament, can already take a huge step to the quarter-finals by beating Portugal in their second game.
“We know the Dutch, they can be very dominating,” Morten Olsen, the Denmark coach, said. “If you get scared of them, they play really good football. I think we played them in the right way.”
Holland meanwhile, will likely be out if they don’t beat Germany on Wednesday.
“I refuse to throw in the towel,” Van Marwijk said. “We must beat Germany. We have done that before.”