Netherlands denied by Denmark fightback
Netherlands 1-1 Denmark
Marco van Basten may have had a full Oranje squad to call upon for the first time during their UEFA EURO 2008™ preparations but his side could only muster a draw against Denmark in Eindhoven after Ruud van Nistelrooy's first-half effort was cancelled out by Christian Poulsen.
Edwin van der Sar, Van Nistelrooy, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben all started for the Dutch having only arrived at their training camp during the course of the previous seven days. Van Basten made a number of changes from the side that comfortably beat Ukraine 3-0 in their previous friendly, with Joris Mathijsen replacing Wilfred Bouma in central defence. In midfield, Demy de Zeeuw and Orlando Engelaar were the holding players while Sneijder, Robben and Rafael van der Vaart were handed creative roles behind striker Van Nistelrooy.
Van Nistelrooy opener
The Dutch played some good passing football in the first half especially down the left wing where Robben roamed. That led to chances for the latter, Mathijsen and Van der Vaart, but the Oranje had to wait until the half-hour mark to break the deadlock. Van Nistelrooy started the move with a pass to Sneijder and then received the ball back after two fine one-touch passes from his Real Madrid CF team-mate and Robben before burying his 31st international goal past goalkeeper Jesper Christiansen.
After the break, the Dutch were more wasteful in possession and it led to the equaliser eleven minutes in. Mathijsen lost a duel with Nicklas Bendtner and Poulsen was afforded a simple finish. Van Basten reacted with a triple substitution in the 65th minute, bringing on Tim de Cler, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Dirk Kuyt, and they regained the initiative only for Sneijder, Kuyt and Vennegoor of Hesselink to miss the target in their quest for victory.
"The fact that we had trouble in the second half is understandable as we got tired after a hard training week," said Van Basten. "In the first half, however, we played very well and created a lot of chances. Unfortunately, we only scored one of those but that was an excellent goal that could have come from a football coaching manual. We still had four or five more chances and when you score those, the match is won," he added. The Netherlands return to action when they face Wales on Sunday.
Netherlands: Van der Sar, Ooijer (De Jong 46), Heitinga, Mathijsen, Van Bronckhorst, Van der Vaart (Kuyt 65), De Zeeuw, Sneijder (Afellay 82), Engelaar (De Cler 65), Robben (Babel 77), Van Nistelrooy (Vennegoor of Hesselink 65).
Denmark: Christiansen, Kvist Jørgensen (Rasmussen 82), Andreasen (Christensen 77), Krøldrup, Lars Jacobsen, Kahlenberg (Tomasson 46), Poulsen, Jørgensen (Retov 63), Rommedahl, Bendtner, Perez (Vingaard 77).