BBC Sport world-cup-2010

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Netherlands 2-0 Denmark

By Caroline Cheese & Chris Bevan
  1. 09:00 Commentary  

    Hello to you sirs and madams, tis me Caroline Cheese. It’s only day four, but already I think we can agree that Germany are going to win the World Cup… Yes?

  2. 09:08 Commentary  

    A display of crisp passing, imagination, verve, flair, incisive finishing… Germany were so good last night, I may even install them as my second team. *Shudders at the very idea*. Today sees the entrance of perhaps the most underrated defending world champions in history, as Italy, featuring nine of the players who helped win the 2006 World Cup, face Paraguay in the evening game (1930 BST). Before that at 1230 BST, we’ll see the much-fancied Dutch against the much-less-fancied Denmark. In between at 1500 BST, Cameroon against Japan.

  3. 09:13 Commentary  

    Germany may have been excellent against a very average Australia side, but newspaper Bild certainly isn't getting carried away. "We're going to blow you all away" reasons their headline, before adding: "The whole of Germany now suddenly has the feeling that it's our World Cup. Why shouldn't we even win the title?"

  4. SMS  

    From anon: "Excited beyond belief! Taken a half day off work and will be pub-bound at 12. Van Persie to light up the World Cup and Holland to win it."

  5. 09:20 Commentary  

    It's fair to say the UK newspapers aren't feeling quite as triumphant as their German friends. One insipid draw against the USA, plus Rob Green’s clanger and the probable end of Ledley King’s South African adventure, has very abruptly ended the honeymoon for England boss Fabio Capello. Steve Howard in the Sun writes: “It gets them all in the end. This obligatory madness that accompanies the position of England manager. The madness of St George. And it’s even got to Don Fabio.” The Mirror’s Oliver Holt’s verdict is that “just when we needed Capello to be Capello, he has faltered.”

  6. SMS  

    From Steve: "Re 09:13: If England had beat USA 4-0, the Sun would have had a picture of Gerrard lifting the trophy on the front page!"

  7. 09:29 Commentary  

    The newspapers (even the posh ones) reckon Ledley King has been ruled out  for two to three weeks, which effectively rules him out of the rest of the World Cup, unless (a) England at least get to the quarter-finals, and (b) Fabio decides to chuck him straight back into the team. However, I can report that King IS at England's training session this morning.

  8. Twitter  

    The Times' Oliver Kay: "Ledley King has just strolled onto the pitch at England training. Suspect he'll only be stretching, but still surprising. Wayne Rooney not joining in full training today. Joins Ashley Cole and King in the gym. Not heard of any serious problem."

  9. 09:35 Commentary  

    The journos on Twitter report that Wayne Rooney has taken a kick on the ankle, which is nothing serious. He's gone for a swim. Lovely. Following this training session, Jamie Carragher is due to speak to the media. Carra came on for Ledley King against the US, but will he start against Algeria?

  10. Contributor BBC Sport's chief football writer Phil McNulty  

    Via Twitter: "Rooney nursing ankle knock and Ashley Cole takes time to recover after games. King groin injury assessed day by day."

  11. SMS  

    From Julian in Oban: "As a Danish man living in the UK, I've naturally put £10 on Denmark to win the World Cup. At 150-1 it's worth a punt, right?"

  12. 09:47 Commentary  

    An earlier texter joked that if England had won against the USA, Steven Gerrard would be on the front page of the Sun holding the World Cup. Bizarrely, that picture is actually mocked up for the front page of the Star this morning. The reason? Fabio Capello's 89-year-old mum still thinks they'll win it. "I had an icecream and watched the whole match,” says Evelina. “It would have been good to start with a win and I know Fabio will be disappointed. I will tell him not to get downhearted. It’s all about commitment and England have got that.”

  13. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher  

    Via Twitter: "Up at 4.30am. Harsh. The latest BBC bus incident - a bird flew into a top-deck window and smashed its way through. Don't think it made it!"

  14. 606  

    From norwich_4_EPL: "I'm an Aussie and I'm still in disbelief from last night. I keep telling myself that it didn't happen."

  15. 09:54 Commentary  

    Poor Evelina. Even she, an 89-year-old living in Italy, has been brainwashed into thinking good old-fashioned English commitment can win you World Cups...

  16. 09:59 Commentary  

    Right, to mark the end of doom and gloom hour, I bring you this crushingly bad news: Black Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling is about to become first million-selling download in the UK. WHY??? Stadium DJs the country over should be hanging their heads in shame.

  17. 606  

    From Hugh: "Let's not get carried away about Germany. Their opponents were the international equivalent of Bolton."

  18. SMS  

    From Fraser: "Is it really that laughable that people think we [England] could still win the Cup? It was only the first game! The South Africans believe, so why can't we?"

  19. SMS  

    From Anthony in Liverpool: "Every chink in England's squad has already been exposed - Rooney's temper, keeper, goalscorers, King's knees, etc. We will now only improve. And Germany may have peaked too early."

  20. 10:13 Commentary  

    Hope you enjoyed that trickle of positive texts. I like to think of it as text commentary counselling. You'll be pleased to know that the mood from now on will remain steadfastly upbeat and, indeed, pumped.

  21. 10:13 Commentary  

    Hope you enjoyed that trickle of positive texts. I like to think of it as text commentary counselling. You'll be pleased to know that the mood from now on will remain steadfastly upbeat and, indeed, pumped.

  22. 10:19 Commentary  

    And if it's relentless positivity you're after, Slovakia striker Vladimir Weiss is your man. Weiss, you may already know, is a 20-year-old Manchester City forward, who has made the grand total of four starts. He didn't exactly set the world on fire during a loan spell at Bolton. But he has made (his dad's) Slovakia squad and told BBC Sport's Chris Bevan: "A lot of people back home were asking why I was being picked for my country if I wasn't playing for my club. But as soon as they saw me play, they were shocked and surprised at what I can do. Now they are saying 'why wasn't he picked earlier?'"

  23. SMS  

    From Tom, procrastinating from his dissertation in Gateshead: "To maintain the feeling of optimism, today I will be clinging to my 1/4 Danish heritage and hoping we can get one over on the Dutch. Stranger things have happened!"

  24. SMS  

    From Jose in Wimbledon: "I remember the Spanish four years ago being lauded for their performances in group stages then they lost in second round. Not saying the same will happen to ge rmany just giving it some perspective. England are slow starters and build into a tournament. Let's hope that's the case."

  25. 10:29 Commentary  

    And the good news just keeps on coming, folks. News reaches us that Fifa's Executive Committee has announced the vuvuzela will not be banned. Long live the vuvuzela!

  26. Contributor BBC Sport's chief football writer Phil McNulty  

    Via Twitter: "Lots of camera lenses focused on Green at England training today. Caught everything. Rooney in pool - not serious problem apparently."

  27. Contributor BBC Sport's Chris Bevan  

    Via Twitter: "Poor Rob Green still front page news in SA - being used to promote the jobs' section of today's Cape Times."

  28. World Cup Have Your Say  

    From anon in Nairobi on WCHYS: "It’s insulting to the culture of Africa to call for the ban of the VUVU. Do africans call for the ban of cheer leading in the West?"

  29. Contributor BBC Sport's chief football writer Phil McNulty  

    Via Twitter: "Vuvuzelas stay and rightly so. It is South Africa's World Cup & they are part of the football culture here whether others like it or not."

  30. 10:53 Commentary  

    Let's look forward to today's games shall we? One of the highlights of any major football tournament is the sight of thousands of Dutch fans dressed in brilliant orange outfits. Soccer City in Johannesburg gets the pleasure of their company today. In 1652, Dutchman Jan van Riebeck was the first European settler in South Africa, and fittingly the Netherlands were the first European nation to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. And yes, I have copied that straight off the match preview.

  31. 11:00 Commentary  

    Denmark, meanwhile, finished top of their qualification group ahead of Portugal. They include in their squad 18-year-old Christian Eriksen, who could become the youngest player to represent Denmark at a World Cup. Denmark, you might like to know, have never fielded a teenager at a World Cup.

  32. Contributor BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson  

    "Johannesburg is bathed in a glorious autumnal sunshine and the areas outside Soccer City have been transformed into a stunning sea of orange. It can only mean one thing at a World Cup: the Dutch are here. And they are already having fun."

  33. 11:09 Commentary  

    The aforementioned Christian Eriksen signed for Ajax (which, geography fans, is in the Netherlands) at the age of 16 and signed a new contract this season keeping him there until 2014. With Daniel Jensen, Jon Dahl Tomasson and Nicklas Bendtner all very doubtful to start today, Eriksen could get a chance to shine for the Danes.

  34. 11:13 Commentary  

    As if it wasn't enough that I had to sit through England being rubbish and Germany being brilliant at the weekend, I received this tweet from Dutch football commentator Mark van Rijswijk this morning: "Nice to see you so enthusiastic about the Germans, just wait until you see the Dutch!"

  35. SMS  

    From anon: "Speaking of brilliant Orange outfits... I saw a 6ft 5ins Dutch fella in a bright orange cord suit. Where do they even get that? Hup Holland!"

  36. 11:18 Commentary  

    Jamie Carragher coming into press now... I'll bring you the best bits.

  37. Contributor England defender Jamie Carragher  

    On Rob Green: “We had a day off yesterday. I’ve seen him this morning and he seems fine. Every player has been there, making a mistake in a big game, but the reason you’re in the England squad in the first place is because you have a certain amount of mental strength. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

  38. Commentary England defender Jamie Carragher  

    On the uncertainty over the goalkeeper position: “If you’d asked me before the game, I’d have said Rob Green was playing. He was always the first choice for me because he’d played the last few games. Obviously it’s the manager’s decision, but I always felt that if I came on at some stage, Rob Green would be behind me.”

  39. SMS  

    From anon: "Was Carragher beaten into the interview room by everyone else?"
    Harsh

  40. Contributor England defender Jamie Carragher  

    On vuvuzelas: "My kids have been on the phone asking for vuvuzelas. I've got two in my bag. Anyone who's been to Anfield watching me will know I'm louder than the vuvuzelas."

  41. 11:29 Commentary  

    Jamie Carragher also defends Fabio Capello's policy of naming the team two hours before kick-off, saying he's never known anything different, and asked what he would say to those who are beginning to doubt the England boss, he replies: "Just look at his record. He’s Fabio Capello. His record is pretty unblemished. That gives you belief."

  42. 11:33 Commentary  

    Anyway, back to today's games. Less than an hour to go until kick off between Netherlands and Denmark and the top trending topic on Twitter is, obviously, 'Hup Holland Hup' (which simply means Go Holland Go). The word 'Denmark' is down in sixth. Come on Denmark, sort yourselves out... And get yourselves a cheery catchprase while you're there.
    PS. I'm listening to Des O'Connor singing Sweet Caroline. No, I really am.

  43. 11:40 Commentary  

    Good news for Denmark: Nicklas Bendtner makes the starting line-up. As expected, Netherlands will have to do without Arjen Robben, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury. They've still got Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie, so don't go feeling too sorry for them.

  44. Contributor BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson  

    "Just spoke to the great Swedish footballer Ralf Edstrom, who as well as scoring four goals at the 1974 World Cup and now being a top-class radio pundit is also a thoroughly nice bloke. He assures me most of Scandinavia is rooting for Denmark, though he has a soft spot for the Dutch having played for PSV Eindhoven for four years. He reckons the Danes will defend deep and in numbers and play on the break, so it's up to Netherlands to break them down. A familiar tale so far at this World Cup."

  45. 11:45 606  

    From Robsoninho: "Really looking forward to seeing the Dutch, they are always my second team in World Cups or the Euros. I'm especially looking forward to watching Sneijder, Van Persie and Van der Vaart strutting their stuff. I'd really love to see Van der Vaart in the Premier League next season, he is such a talented footballer."

  46. 11:45 Commentary  

    That's me done and dusted for a little while. Time to hand over to Chris Bevan in South Africa for coverage of Netherlands v Denmark. Could I ask you to join me in a little while for Japan v Cameroon? Thanks...

  47. 11:50 Commentary  

    Hello, I'm Chris Bevan - greetings from a wet and windy Cape Town, where I'll be watching world champions Italy begin their defence of their title against Paraguay later. First things first, though - Netherlands against Denmark kicks off at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium in 40 minutes time, followed by Japan v Cameroon in Bloemfontein. All the action on day four of the World Cup starts here...

  48. 11:55 Commentary  

    Believe it or not, this is the first time these two countries have met at a World Cup (although this is the 29th time they've played each other) and here's a stat for you: the Dutch have not lost their opening match at a finals since 1938, when Czechoslovakia beat them 3-0. Will that change today?

  49. 11:58 Commentary Netherlands v Denmark line-ups  

    Netherlands: 1 Maarten Stekelenburg; 2 Gregory van der Wiel,
    3 John Heitinga, 4 Joris Mathijsen, 5 Giovanni van Bronckhorst,
    7 Dirk Kuyt, 6 Mark van Bommel, 10 Wesley Sneijder, 8 Nigel de
    Jong, 23 Rafael van der Vaart, 9 Robin van Persie.

    Denmark: 1 Thomas Sorensen; 4 Daniel Agger, 3 Simon Kjaer,
    6 Lars Jacobsen, 15 Simon Poulsen, 10 Martin Jorgensen,
    2 Christian Poulsen, 20 Thomas Enevoldsen, 12 Thomas Kahlenberg,
    19 Dennis Rommedahl, 11 Nicklas Bendtner.
    Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France)

  50. 12:00 Commentary Denmark coach Morten Olsen  

    "A good result would be a draw for us. Let me say that the Netherlands are the favourites. They have good individual players that play at top international level. This is a kind of a bonus match, against one of the favourites of the World Cup,
    and we can only surprise. We're working to see if we can do that and if we have
    a very good day, then perhaps we can."

  51. 12:04 Commentary Netherlands v Denmark team news  

    As expected Bayern Munich forward Arjen Robben misses out for the Netherlands with a hamstring injury but the Dutch still have the attacking prowess of Real Madrid's Rafael van der Vaart to call on in his place.

    Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder and Arsenal's Robin van Persie also start for the Dutch, while former Arsenal and Barcelona defender Giovanni van Bronckhorst is set to earn his 100th cap.

    Everton defender John Heitinga, Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong and Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt all start.

    Denmark have been handed three timely boosts ahead of their opening World Cup game. Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner has overcome a groin injury and takes his place in the starting XI.

    Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen is fit play for the first time since dislocating his right elbow in April.

    And highly-rated Palermo centre-back Simon Kjaer has also recovered from a knock to his right knee to take his place at the heart of the Dane's defence alongside Liverpool's Daniel Agger.

  52. 12:07 Commentary Dutch forward Robin van Persie  

    "We should reach the semi-finals at least. That's a must for us, especially when you look at our 23 players and the clubs they play for."

  53. Twitter  

    From sushi_football: "Looking forward to Denmark v Holland - think there will be a few goals in this one."

    I hope you're right...

  54. 12:15 Commentary  

    Yep, one of the things we need today is goals - agreed? The other is chat from you lot. Text me on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide), I'm on Twitter @chrisbevan_bbc or you can always join the crew on 606.

  55. 12:20 Commentary  

    By the way, do me a quick favour before we kick off at Soccer City and give this page a quick manual refresh. I'm not Caroline anymore... I'm Chris.

  56. SMS  

    From Farrell: "The Dutch attack looks very strong, but once again I think its their defence that isn't any where near the level required to go all the way. Let's hope for their sakes I will eat my words!"

  57. 12:26 IT'S SUNNY  

    Not fair - It's still raining here in Cape Town, but in Johannesburg it's a beautiful day. Anyway, the teams are out on the pitch, and we're just hearing the anthems... kick-off is just moments away.

  58. Contributor BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson  

    "Huge areas of Soccer City are empty - and it’s apparently pandemonium outside. Lessons from Friday not learned, it seems."
     

  59. 12:30 KICK-OFF Netherlands v Denmark  
  60. SMS  

    From robh28: "Looking forward to this one Chris, a few top notch players floating about. Denmark could cause an early upset!"

  61. 3 mins Commentary  

    The Dutch, looking brilliant as ever in orange, have had most of the possession so far but not done much with it yet. Both teams still feeling their way into this one.

  62. 5 mins Commentary  

    Gary Lineker is stood behind me, watching the start of this game intently. Not a lot for us to get excited about yet - referee Stephane Lannoy has had to get involved quite a lot already too. Scrappy.

  63. 6 mins Commentary  

    Wesley Sneijder fancies his chances with a free-kick from a long way out... but blasts it high over the bar. At the other end, Denmark's Thomas Enevoldsen also has a pop from a set-piece - we've had our first shots on goal but not even this World Cup ball made them any sort of threat.

  64. Contributor BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson  

    "World Cup matches should not be starting with so many empty seats and so much confusion - Fifa needs to sort this out, and quickly. Let's hope the football can quickly distract us from the stands."

  65. SMS  

    Joe in Basingstoke: "I have a sneaking feeling Dirk Kuyt is going to pop up with a couple of goals today."

    Kuyt's just had his first effort, to be fair - it was saved fairly easily by Thomas Sorensen.

  66. 15 mins Commentary  

    Hmmm. The Dutch seem to be coming forward with more purpose so far, while Denmark are keeping a lot of men back. With Japan and Cameroon still to play, a draw would do them nicely here - much more so than the Netherlands, I suspect.

  67. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Jan Molby  

    "The game is being played exactly how Denmark want it to be played so far, the Dutch want to pass the ball forward as quickly as they can but Denmark are stopping them doing that and are defending well."
     

  68. SMS  

    From Cush: "What's the deal - have people all left it late to get in the ground or are there not enough people manning the turnstiles?"

  69. 19 mins Commentary South Africa Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele on the problems getting into Soccer City Stadium  

    "It could be that they [the tickets] were distributed to people who did not have means of transportation."

  70. 21 mins Commentary  

    A couple of chances for the Netherlands to tell you about: First, Robin van Persie slips the ball through to Rafael van der Vaart on the edge of the area - he has time to get a shot away, but it is deflected wide. Then, after another neat move, Van der Vaart makes space for himself in a similar position with a clever turn but lifts his shot over the bar.

  71. 24 mins Commentary  

    In contrast, Denmark have not managed to trouble the Dutch defence once yet. Nicklas Bendtner is up front on his own for the Danes and is not seeing much of the ball. Still, his boots look nice.

  72. Contributor BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson  

    "This game has quickly revealed itself as one of contrasting styles - the Dutch are trying to play their usual free-flowing football, and the Danes are doing everything they can to stop them. The team in white aren't pretty, but they are effective, so can the Oranje break them down?"

  73. 28 mins Commentary  

    A first opening for Denmark, and it's a good one. Daniel Agger's wonderful long pass releases Dennis Rommedahl down the right and his cross finds Nicklas Bendtner at the back post. Sadly, Bendtner gets his header all wrong - the ball seems to come off his shoulder and flies wide.

  74. 32 mins Commentary  

    Ooof. Nigel de Jong catches Denmark's Martin Jorgensen late with a nasty-looking tackle but escapes punishment from referee Stephane Lannoy. De Jong was lucky there - I'm not too sure what the difference was between that one and the challenge that got Australia's Tim Cahill sent off last night.

  75. 35 mins Commentary  

    A scare for the Dutch - they force a flurry of corners that come to nothing and then are almost caught out on the break when a long ball finds Dennis Rommedahl. The Danes have a few men up there with him, but Rommedahl elects to shoot - straight at Maarten Stekelenburg. Disappointing.

  76. 37 mins Commentary  

    This is much better from Denmark actually - they are proving they can attack as well as defend. Nicklas Bendtner releases Thomas Kahlenberg, who shoots from a tightish angle and forces Maarten Stekelenburg to tip the ball round his post.

  77. SMS  

    From anon: (Re 32 mins) The difference was that De Jong went in with two feet and studs showing.... but wait, he was the one who didn't even get a card? Explain that to me."

    I don't think I can, other than to say 'inconsistent'. And when do we ever say that about referees?!?

  78. 43 mins Commentary  

    Robin van Persie picks up the ball in the area and tries to work space to shoot. He manages it, despite the attention of Daniel Agger, but not on his favoured left foot - and the end result is a weak effort that spins wide.

  79. 44 mins YELLOW CARD  

    It's fair to say that Nigel de Jong has been living dangerously for a while now with some rather wild tackling and finally he goes into the referees book for a lunge on Nicklas Bendtner, First yellow of the game - and it was coming.

  80. 13:26 HALF-TIME Netherlands 0-0 Denmark  

    Sorry, a few technical problems in Cape Town - it was half-time about five minutes ago.

  81. 46 mins GOAL Netherlands 1-0 Denmark  

    Seconds into the second half a long ball to the left is picked up by Robin van Persie whose deep cross is headed away by Simon Poulson but the ball deflects off Daniel Agger's back and beyond Thomas Sorensen for an own goal.

  82. 55 mins Commentary  

    Right, I'm back... hopefully. Denmark are pressing forward now - I suppose they have to really.

  83. 59 mins Commentary  

    The Dutch are still dangerous though, of course. Rafael van der Vaart tries to find Wesley Sneijder in the box but inadvertently brings a spectacular save from Thomas Sorensen.

  84. 62 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Time for a change by Denmark, and it's a strange one seeing as they need a goal. Nicklas Bendtner is off (he has been carrying a knock) and Mikkel Beckmann is on.

  85. 66 mins Commentary  

    The Danes pump a couple of balls into the Dutch box but they are going to need to do better than that to force an equaliser. They look a bit short of ideas, mind.

  86. Contributor BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson at Soccer City  

    "The Netherlands are starting to find a few more gaps in the Danish defence, but it's not exactly turning into the top-quality game we'd hoped for. Favourite moment so far has to be Robin van Persie blaming the vuvuzelas for not hearing the referee having played on after the whistle. Could've got a second yellow there, too. Maybe the players do like the trumpets after all?"

  87. 69 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    A first substitution for the Dutch now too. They are in control of this game but coach Bert van Marwijk fancies a change. Eljero Elia replaces Rafael van der Vaart to provide some fresh legs going forward, and give them a bit more pace and width too.

  88. 71 mins Commentary  

    Eljero Elia's introduction seems to have woken the crowd up a bit - there's definitely a buzz when he gets the ball for the Dutch. The men in orange are attacking again, and Elia is involved, but a promising move ends when Mark van Bommel fires in a disappointing shot.

  89. 74 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Here comes one of the most promising players in European football (and the youngest player in the tournament). Playmaker Christian Eriksen is on for Denmark, replacing Thomas Kahlenberg - let's see if he can live up to the hype. Meanwhile, the Dutch are attacking again - and Mark van Bommel fires another effort wide.

  90. 76 mins Commentary  

    Hmmm. Denmark are running out of time to get anything out of this one and they are still not doing themselves many favours at the back. Another error almost lets Robin van Persie in, but the ball just about runs through to Thomas Sorensen.

  91. 79 mins Commentary  

    That was Robin van Persie's last contribution... he's just been replaced by Ibrahim Afellay... who immediately makes an impression by linking up with Dirk Kuyt inside the Denmark area - there was just a little too much on the final ball. Shame.

  92. 83 mins HITS THE WOODWORK  

    Almost a second goal for the Dutch. Wesley Sneijder's shot hits Daniel Agger and loops on to the bar - I'm not sure Thomas Sorensen would have kept it out., It doesn't look good for Denmark, to be honest - they're still on the back foot.

  93. SMS  

    James (a member of the goalkeeper's union) in Leeds: "Eating lunch, spare laptop with football on in empty office. Gotta be happy with that. so far the keepers have been the stars (and villains) of the tournament so far. some brilliant saves been seen (and clangers)."

  94. 84 mins GOAL Netherlands 2-0 Denmark  

    Thomas Sorenson makes a brilliant save to deny the onrushing Eljero Elia but Dirk Kuyt follows up to tuck away the rebound.

  95. 85 mins Commentary  

    This one is done and dusted now but the Dutch want more goals - only a fantastic clearance by Christian Poulsen on his goal-line prevents a third.

  96. 91 mins Commentary  

    There are three minutes of injury time to be played but this game was up for Denmark some time ago.

  97. 14:18 FULL-TIME Netherlands 2-0 Denmark  
  98. 14:21 Commentary  

    Not a 45 minutes of football that Denmark will remember too fondly. Once they conceded that shocking first goal, there seemed no way back. Still, a promising start to the Netherlands' World Cup campaign - and plenty more to come, I expect.

  99. Contributor BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson at Soccer City  

    "Deserved three points for Netherlands, but let's hope that is just a starter for them and not the best they can offer this World Cup because they didn't have to be very good to beat a disappointing Denmark team today. I just don't understand why the Danes retreated even more after they'd gone behind. Most strange."

  100. SMS  

    Joe from Basingstoke: "I told you Dirk Kuyt would deliver!"

  101. Twitter  

    From shinydh: "Could have been a very different game if de Jong and van Persie had actually been sent off for two bookable offences."

  102. 606  

    From JackHughesbyZola: "I like the continuous sound of vuvuzelas in all the matches. But I was brought up in a beehive."

  103. 14:36 Commentary  

    Right, almost time for today's other game in Group E - Japan v Cameroon at 15:00 BST. You can follow that one with Caroline Cheese in London - hopefully without the technical errors that haunted me in the second half in Cape Town... I am thinking of blaming them on the World Cup ball - it seems to be at fault for everything else.

  104. Twitter  

    From Frogfisher: It is a typical Danish flaw to retreat after first goal against.. after second they will go into offensive again. Dont know why.

  105. 14:43 Commentary  

    Thanks for your company today folks, I'm at Italy v Paraguay tonight and will be back in the chair on Tuesday for Ivory Coast-Portugal and Brazil-North Korea. I'm looking forward to all three - see you soon.

By Jonathan Stevenson, Johannesburg

A freak own goal from Denmark defender Daniel Agger helped Netherlands on their way to victory in the World Cup Group E contest at Soccer City.

After a tight first half, the crucial breakthrough came moments after the break as Simon Poulsen tried to head a Robin van Persie cross clear only for the ball to strike Agger on the back and fly past a wrong-footed Thomas Sorensen.

At the time the goal was harsh on Denmark after Morten Olsen's side matched the Dutch in the opening period, but they offered little having fallen behind and can have few complaints about the result.

The Dutch wrapped it up with five minutes left when lively substitute Eljero Elia raced on to a through ball and after his shot struck the post, Dirk Kuyt tapped in the rebound to add gloss to the scoreline.

But in truth, the ninth game of the tournament followed many of its predecessors as both teams struggled for any sort of fluency and neither could find any real attacking momentum in the Johannesburg sunshine.

With World Cup greats Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane watching on from the stands, it provided another sharp reminder that, Germany apart, so far this tournament has significantly failed to provide the entertaining, creative football many had expected.

Netherlands were many people's dark horses coming into the competition, but, missing the wing play of the injured Arjen Robben, they struggled to find a way through a dogged Danish defence.

Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder and Van Persie all threatened to deliver in the early stages, but the Dutch build-up was too laboured and with Denmark getting men behind the ball they managed to frustrate Bert van Marwijk's side.

After Van der Vaart had a shot deflected behind and then curled narrowly off target it seemed as though Netherlands had found their feet, but that only prompted the best spell Denmark had in the game.

The Scandinavians burst into life as Nicklas Bendtner headed a gilt-edged chance wide from six yards, Dennis Rommedahl shot straight at Martin Stekelenburg and then Thomas Kahlenberg forced a fine save from the Ajax stopper.

Unfortunately for Denmark, that was as good as it got as, seconds after the restart, Poulsen and Agger's calamitous moment gave the Dutch an initiative they never looked likely to surrender.

Denmark had no answer to falling behind and the Netherlands began to press for a second they knew would put the result beyond doubt as Van der Vaart brought a sprawling save from an increasingly extended Sorensen.

When the Dutch brought on Elia his pace and directness presented another problem the Danes could not deal with and after Sneijder's shot was deflected on to the bar, the goal that killed the game arrived soon after.

Elia's pace took him clear of the static Danish backline and after his shot stuck the post, Kuyt was only hand to wrap up the three points for the jubilant Dutch.

The nearly had another in the closing stages, only for Poulsen to produce a fabulous clearance with an overhead kick, but the damage had already been done and the Netherlands' World Cup campaign got off to a winning start.

Netherlands Netherlands Flag 2-0 Denmark Flag Denmark FT

(HT 0-0)

Agger (og), 46
Kuyt, 85
 

Netherlands

Denmark

 

Substitutes:

Substitutes:

  • Venue: Soccer City
  • Referee: S Lannoy
  • Attendance: 83,465
Netherlands     Denmark
  • Possession 59%
    41%
  • Attempts on target 9
    5
  • Attempts off target 9
    4
  • Corners 6
    2
  • Fouls 10
    17

Projected table based on current scores

Group A

Group A teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Uruguay 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 7
Mexico 3 1 1 1 3 2 1 4
South Africa 3 1 1 1 3 5 -2 4
France 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1

Group B

Group B teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Argentina 3 3 0 0 7 1 6 9
South Korea 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4
Greece 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
Nigeria 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1

Group C

Group C teams P W D L F A GD PTS
USA 3 1 2 0 4 3 1 5
England 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 5
Slovenia 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
Algeria 3 0 1 2 0 2 -2 1

Group D

Group D teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Germany 3 2 0 1 5 1 4 6
Ghana 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
Australia 3 1 1 1 3 6 -3 4
Serbia 3 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3

Group E

Group E teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Netherlands 3 3 0 0 5 1 4 9
Japan 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Denmark 3 1 0 2 3 6 -3 3
Cameroon 3 0 0 3 2 5 -3 0

Group F

Group F teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Paraguay 3 1 2 0 3 1 2 5
Slovakia 3 1 1 1 4 5 -1 4
New Zealand 3 0 3 0 2 2 0 3
Italy 3 0 2 1 4 5 -1 2

Group G

Group G teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Brazil 3 2 1 0 5 2 3 7
Portugal 3 1 2 0 7 0 7 5
Ivory Coast 3 1 1 1 4 3 1 4
North Korea 3 0 0 3 1 12 -11 0

Group H

Group H teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Spain 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Chile 3 2 0 1 3 2 1 6
Switzerland 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 4
Honduras 3 0 1 2 0 3 -3 1

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