Kuyt helps Holland take first tentative steps to World Cup glory
Holland did what was necessary to beat a well-organised Danish side 2-0 and they now look a certain bet to finish top of the group.
While not expecting to win the match, the Danes will be disappointed and their next match against Cameroon now takes on added importance.
The Oranjes took the lead a minute into the second half when Denmark defender Simon Poulsen tried to head a Robin Van Persie cross clear, but only succeeded in miscuing the ball off Daniel Agger’s back and beyond Thomas Sorensen.
Up to that point, the match – like many already at this tournament – had failed to really get going.
Nicklas Bendtner wasted the best chance of the first half, heading wide from six yards out. He is out to 125/1 to be top scorer.
After the the Dutch goal, manager Bert van Marwijk brought Eljero Elia on for Rafael Van der Vaart and the young winger instantly gave Holland a greater attacking threat and played a part in the decisive second goal.
With five minutes to go Wesley Sneijder put Elia one-on-one with Sorenson, who tipped the Dutchman’s shot onto post only for Dirk Kuyt to slot in the rebound. Elia could be one to watch as the tournament progresses.
Holland then began to express themselves as they have done in previous friendlies, with Poulsen somewhat atoning for his earlier error by clearing an Ibrahim Afellay shot off the line.
Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie (9/1 to be tournament top scorer) had a couple of chances but failed to capitalise on either.
He did have the ball in net with a lovely finish, but the whistle had already gone for offside. Having already been booked he was lucky to escape a second card and appeared to be blaming the vuvuzelas for not being able to hear the whistle.
Ghana’s Prince Tago was not so lucky yesterday and with two such incidents already, does the irrepressible horn sound have a yet greater role to play in this tournament?