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Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Monday, 14 June 2010 16:43 UK

World Cup 2010: Dutch coach grateful for 'lucky' goal

Dirk Kuyt celebrates scoring for the Netherlands
Van Marwijk admits Netherlands' second goal came as a 'huge relief'

Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk admitted a "lucky" goal helped his side to a 2-0 win over Denmark but believes they should have scored more.

A freak own goal from defender Daniel Agger set Netherlands on their way in their Group E opener, with forward Dirk Kuyt completing the scoring late on.

"The players were tense. We wanted to play beautiful football, but we lost the ball too often," said Van Marwijk.

"Things got better. After the first goal you saw what we're capable of."

Netherlands, many people's dark horses for the competition, failed to gather any real attacking momentum in Johannesburg against a stubborn Danish defence.

Denmark managed to frustrate a Netherlands side comprising attacking talents such as Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie before the Scandinavians gifted their opponents a goal moments after the break.


Simon Poulsen tried to head a Van Persie cross clear only for the ball to hit Agger on the back and fly past a wrong-footed Thomas Sorensen.

The second goal of the game came with five minutes remaining. Lively substitute Eljero Elia raced on to a through ball and after his shot struck the post, Kuyt tapped in the rebound.

"I have been thinking of this game for a long time, because it is always a tough match and it is so important to get off to a good start," said the 58-year-old.

"We could have won by more. It was a huge relief when the second goal went in.

"In the second half we started with a lucky goal, so it was up to Denmark to come out but they didn't have the conviction or the force to.

"I have said 100,000 times that sometimes we are arrogant and sometimes that might backfire on us, and I have told my players from day one and we must not fall into that trap."

Van Marwijk did not believe Netherlands were hampered by the absence of influential forward Arjen Robben, who is continuing his recovering from a hamstring injury.

"We won, 2-0, so there you go. You can hardly say that you missed him," he said.

"Arjen is an exceptional player who on his own can make a difference. But we've got a couple of them and I'm really pleased that we have them on board.

"It does create some reassurance that we can call him up when the time is right.

"We felt the co-operation was excellent between Sneijder, Van der Vaart and Van Persie.

"We scored 10 goals in two of our warm-up games and we still have plenty of weapons on the bench."

Playmaker Sneijder was unhappy with Netherlands' first-half performance, but praised Denmark for their professional approach.

"I don't think we played that well in the first half, but in the second we really deserved to win," said the Inter Milan forward.

"The Danes in the first half did an excellent job because they studied us very thoroughly."

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see also
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup day four photos
14 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup Photo Album
12 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010

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Newcastle United Mad : NU Mad - World Cup Report - Wednesday - 3 hrs ago
New Era Dutch stretch unbeaten run - 9 hrs ago
Chicago Tribune Dutch get a treat against Denmark - 17 hrs ago
Winn FM Danes No Match For Dutch - 18 hrs ago Holland v Denmark: The PFA Coaching Department view - 18 hrs ago


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