Holland win opener against Denmark

Holland 2 Denmark 0

An own goal by Daniel Agger and a late Dirk Kuyt effort helped Holland begin their World Cup campaign with a comfortable victory over Denmark at Soccer City.

Both goals came in the second half after an assured first period of defending by the Scandinavians, who constantly thwarted a Dutch attack which appeared short of ideas without the injured Arjen Robben.



But the resistance was broken less than a 60 seconds into the second half, when Robin van Persie's cross from the left was headed on by Simon Poulsen - seemingly for a corner - but struck the back of Agger and went in.



Kuyt doubled Holland's advantage five minutes from the end to ensure the highly-fancied Oranje a positive start in Group E.



Denmark coach Morten Olsen sprung a major surprise by naming Nicklas Bendtner in his starting line-up despite saying yesterday that the Arsenal striker, who has been nursing a groin problem, "cannot play".



But his side, like Holland, struggled to find any early rhythm with Wesley Sneijder and Thomas Enevoldsen wastefully firing free-kicks from good positions into the crowd.



It took 10 minutes for the first shot on target - Kuyt sending a tame effort straight into the arms of Thomas Sorensen from just outside the box.



The noise level of the vuvuzelas was suddenly raised after 16 minutes when the lively Liverpool forward's cross was cleared away for a corner, but that came to nothing - much to the disappointment of the Soccer City crowd.



Van Persie and Rafael van der Vaart then played a neat one-two, but the latter saw his shot deflected wide by Agger.



The Danes had their best opening of the half just after the midway point when Bendtner found himself in space inside the six-yard box, but he could only head Dennis Rommedahl's cross from wide on the right.



After another dangerous ball from Kuyt was deflected wide, Rommedahl carved out another good chance when he cut in from the right, only to shoot straight at Maarten Stekelenburg.



The Ajax goalkeeper was drawn into his first testing save after 36 minutes when Bendtner released Thomas Kahlenberg, whose shot was acrobatically palmed away.



Just before the break, Van Persie seemed unsure which foot to use after making room on the right, before poking his effort wide.



The Danes may have been solid at the back for the first 45 minutes, but they slipped up straight after the restart to gift their opponents the lead.



The advantage could have been doubled after another mistake - this time from Simon Kjaer - saw Van Persie played in, but indecisiveness from the striker allowed Sorensen to swoop.



Coach Olsen then made his first change by introducing Jesper Gronkjaer, but it was the Oranje that continued to look dangerous.



Van der Vaart showed good skill in trying to cutely volley Van Persie's pass in, but Sorensen again intercepted.



Mikkel Beckmann and Christian Eriksen were also thrown on for Denmark, the former for Bendtner, but they still struggled to carve out any real openings although Agger struck a low shot into the gloves of Stekelenburg.



And Bert van Marwijk's team were always a threat going forward, with substitute Eljero Elia causing plenty of problems down the left.



Sneijder almost made it 2-0 eight minutes from time, but saw his 25-yard effort deflected onto the crossbar by Agger with Sorensen beaten.



However, five minutes from time Kuyt sealed the points. Elia's shot from the left was diverted onto the right-hand post by Stoke goalkeeper Sorensen and the Liverpool forward easily finished.



It could have been worse for Denmark, but Daniel Poulsen cleared Ibrahim Afellay's shot off the line late on.



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
Life and Style
food + drink
News
video
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home