Holland vs Denmark – Oranje’s admirers expecting a show
Look beyond the awesome Dutch strike power though, and the Netherlands have a few fault lines
Holland and Denmark meet on Monday at 12.30, with the Dutch a big odds on favourite at (8/15) to flatten the Danes.
The Dutch have also crept in to 8/1 fifth favourites to lift the trophy for the first time in their history, and have stealthily risen to fourth in the FIFA rankings, behind Brazil, Spain and a possibly past it Portugal.
Fuel for that climb has come from their outstanding qualifying record – eight wins out of eight, with just two goals conceded – but many also remember some outstanding Holland performances in the 2008 Euros, when they beat France 3-0 and Italy 4-1 in the group stages before blowing it against Russia in the quarters.
That ability to self-destruct should be taken into account when considering a world cup tournament bet.
Some commentators also believe the Dutch defence is flattered by their qualifying record and may look elderly and vulnerable against more formidable offences than those of Scotland and Norway.
The now familiar rumours that the players don’t like each other have also surfaced.
These flaws tend to be masked by the fearsome Dutch attacking alternatives of Van Persie, Sneijder, Kuyt and Robben, although the latter will definitely be missing through injury. The Dutch are also odds on (1/2) to win Group E.
The Danes are 5/1 to win, which reflects on the fact that Rommedahl, Grokjaer and Jorgensen are getting on a bit, that star defender Kjaer will be missing and their lack of glamour.
They topped a tough group, though, and striker Nicklas Bendtner tends to be more consistent for club than country, but after defeats to Australia and South Africa in the warm ups confidence may be low.
The Danes are 9/2 to top the group.
The draw at 3/1 is also worth a look – five of the last six meetings between these two teams ended level.
Have the Danes got a surprise in them? They are 10/1 to win 1-0.