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Holland vs. Denmark: Dutch Will Start Tournament Run with Convincing Win

KHARKOV, UKRAINE - JUNE 08:  Arjen Robben of Netherlands looks on during Netherlands Training session ahead of UEFA EURO 2012 at the Metalist Stadium on June 8, 2012 in Kharkov, Ukraine.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2012

Denmark will put up a fight, but in the end, the talented Netherlands squad will simply be too good and will open the European championships with a convincing win.

The Netherlands are scary in the attacking third, with Arjen Robben a crafty creator on the wing and Wesley Sneijder a facilitating, attacking midfielder who orchestrates the transition from offense to defense for the squad.

And then there is the striker position. The Dutch will go with Robin van Persie and his 37 goals in all competitions this season, as he has been one of the most potent goal scorers in the world this year, leading the Premier League with 30 goals this season.

That will relegate Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, he of the 47 goals in all appearances this season, to the bench. There aren't many teams on which he wouldn't start in this tournament, but that's the sort of offensive depth that the Dutch boast.

Of course, the concern for the Netherlands won't be the attack but rather the defense, especially since Joris Mathijsen will miss the country's first match.

But if they are able to dominate possession and keep Denmark on its heels, they should be fine.

For Denmark, the key to victory will be the play of Christian Eriksen in the midfield. If the 20-year-old can keep Denmark pushing forward and facilitate the attack, Denmark has a shot to win this one.

Denmark will look to play a similar style to the Dutch, attempting to keep possession and pressure up the wings. Whether or not it is effective, however, will depend heavily on Eriksen's form.

Perhaps Nicklas Bendtner can provide a few highlight-reel-worthy moments at striker, but he's inconsistent enough to make counting on him to do so a fool's errand. Still, he and Eriksen are the two players who can take advantage of the average Dutch back line.

But at the end of the day, the Netherlands simply has the star power that Denmark lacks. There are few attacks more potent in Europe. As good as Denmark is, a win or even a draw in this match would be an upset.

The Netherlands were the runners-up in the 2010 World Cup to Spain. Anything less than a championship trophy at the Euros will be a disappointing for Oranje.

 

Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets really wanted to have another.

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