(Monday, June 14th)
Final Score: Netherlands 2, Denmark 0
Johannesburg, South Africa (Sports Network) - An own goal from Simon Poulsen and a late tally from Dirk Kuyt was enough for the Netherlands to claim a 2-0 win over Denmark in FIFA World Cup Group E play on Monday at Soccer City Stadium.
Following an uninspiring first half, Poulsen tried to head a Robin van Persie cross clear, but instead nodded it off the back of teammate Daniel Agger and into his own net just one minute after the restart.
"In the first half everything went perfectly for us, our plan worked well," Poulsen said. "But right at the start of the second half I put through my own goal. I was looking to head the cross well clear, but unfortunately it skidded away from me and was deflected off Daniel Agger's back. That goal completely changed the game."
Kuyt then put the result away with a goal five minutes from time as the Dutch put together their best spell of play in the final 10 minutes.
Denmark had the better of the chances in the first half and they could have taken the lead midway through the half as Dennis Rommedahl's cross found the head of Nicklas Bendtner at the back post, but he nodded it wide.
Thomas Kahlenberg tested Netherlands goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg with a left-footed shot that needed to be tipped past the post, while the best chance in the opening half for the Dutch came right before the break when Van Persie got into a good position and missed the target with his weaker right foot.
However, it took less than one minute into the second half for Poulsen's error to put the Danes behind and they were never really able to mount much of an attack.
The Netherlands did well to keep possession of the ball and they finally put together a few good chances in the last 10 minutes.
Wesley Sneijder had a deflected effort hit the top of the crossbar and the second goal arrived three minutes later when substitute Eljero Elia had his shot tipped off the post, leaving Kuyt a simple tap-in from a few yards.
Another substitute, Ibrahim Afellay, nearly extended the lead minutes later when his shot was acrobatically cleared off the goal line by Poulsen.
The Dutch will try to win their second game in succession on June 19 against Japan, while Denmark faces a tough test against Cameroon on the same day.
06/14 15:41:35 ET