Divided Dutch Fall to United Danes

RAFA VAN DER VAART admits Holland are in a state of shock after their defeat to Denmark. And the Tottenham playmaker insists they must now take three points against bitter rivals Germany on Wednesday to avoid the humiliation of a first-round exit.

The Dutch had 28 efforts on goal and squandered a host of chances as the Danes pulled off a major upset in Kharkiv thanks to a first-half winner from Michael Krohn-Dehli. And Van der Vaart, a surprise omission from Bert Van Marwijk’s starting line-up, knows the World Cup finalists are now in serious danger of an early flight home after losing to the underdogs in the Group of Death.

Dutch fans frustrated, their team on verge of elimination

Holland Fans Frustrated, Their Team on Verge of Elimination

The midfielder, right, said: “If you miss your chances, you can’t win a match. I think they had one chance, maybe two, and they scored. It was an amazing goal to be fair. It is a shock for us, especially as we are in a difficult group. We had to win the game against Denmark to feel comfortable in the group but now it is really difficult. We need two wins to go through now. I don’t think a draw and a win will be enough. Games against Germany are always huge for Holland but this one is like a final for us now. If we win that game, the confidence will come back. We need a victory so at least the way in which we approach the game is easy.???

The Dutch were furious that Slovenian ref Damir Skomina failed to award them an 89th-minute penalty for hand ball against Denmark’s former West Ham defender Lars Jacobsen. Van der Vaart, who was thrown on as a second-half-sub as Holland chased the game, said: “I felt it was a hand ball, it was strange the referee didn’t see it. There was also a referee on the goal-line so that was strange also but I don’t want to blame the officials for us losing the match.???

Dutch defender Johnny Heitinga also admitted he was stunned to lose the game but is adamant the Danes just got lucky. The Everton ace said: “It’s a miracle Denmark won. They only made half a chance and scored.

“It’s unbelievable and was a big surprise. Look at how many chances we created. There is no way anyone can say Denmark deserved to win. Denmark didn’t play very well. You can’t have played well when you give so many chances away. They didn’t do very much but I suppose they worked hard – even their striker, Nicklas Bendtner, was playing at centre-back near the end. You could tell in the changing room after the game when everyone was silent – it was a sort of shock. The only thing we did wrong was that we didn’t score. We know now that we have to win both games to stay in the tournament. The meeting with Germany now is going to be a big, big game. We’ve got the players, we’ve got the quality and we’ve got the skills. The problem is we’re bottom of the table now.???

In truth, Holland – who were tipped by many to win the tournament – looked shaky in defence and lacked real urgency in attack. The Dutch return to Kharkiv on Wednesday to face the Germans, knowing defeat would knock them out. The Danes, meanwhile, are sitting pretty after their disciplined display.

Meanwhile, the Danes Rejoiced

Meanwhile, the Danes Rejoiced

And for Danish goal hero Krohn-Dehli, the victory was extra special as he has spent much of his playing career in Holland with Ajax, RKC Waalwijk and Sparta Rotterdam. The Brondby winger said: “I played for eight years in Holland and have a Dutch girlfriend who was cheering on Holland. So it’s a little bit special to score against the Dutch and it’s now not necessary to win the rest of the group games in order to advance to the knockout stage.???