By Robert Dore
Group B betting preview: Netherlands v Denmark Saturday, 5pm (BBC and RTE2)
Both teams qualified top of their groups to get to Poland and Ukraine. Denmark, surprisingly, finished ahead of Portugal. It was a smaller group though with just five teams, two of which, Cyprus and Iceland, were particularly weak. Nicklas Bentdner (24) may disagree but Denmark lack top quality attacking talent. They are a solid, well organised team with a strong centre-half pairing of Liverpool’s Daniel Agger (27) and Roma’s Simon Kjaer (23) but barring some Greece 2004 like heroics and an unprecedented amount of luck, they won’t make any great waves at this tournament.
The Netherlands on the other hand are the 6/1 third favorites to lift the trophy and possess a squad packed full of world class players. On their day they are as good as any team in the world but, despite making it to the 2010 World Cup final where they lost 1-0 to Spain after extra-time, the warning of potential implosion will still pass many a pundit’s lips. Having Arjen Robben (28) in the squad makes the potential for squabbling in the camp far higher than normal but don’t count on the Dutch falling apart in this tournament. They qualified with a near perfect record, only losing their final game to Sweden, scoring 37 goals in 10 games. The tournament top scorer could very well come from the Netherlands.
Denmark will be well aware of the attacking threat the Netherlands possess, so expect to see them play a containing game, looking to attack on the break and making the most of their set-pieces. The Dutch will go on the attack from the start and look to get an early goal. If they do then this could get ugly. The Netherlands are 8/11 and we here on the Paddy Power Blog expect them to make a mockery of that price with a comfortable win.
A Correct Score stab in the dark
Denmark are well organized and resilient at the back and will be doing their darndest to shut the Dutch down. If the men in Orange are firing on all cylinders then they could run out comfortable winners. With the attacking talent they possess they could very well run up a big score. Netherlands to win 4-1 at 33/1.
A goalscorer bet to look out for
Robin Van Persie (28) scored 37 goals in 48 games for Arsenal last season and at 4/1 to score first he’ll be a popular choice in this game. Don’t go ignoring Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (28) just because you’re more familiar watching his countryman playing for Arsenal. Huntelaar notched an even more impressive 48 goals in 47 games for Schalke and has an excellent record for the Netherlands, 31 goals in 53 internationals. The 11/8 on him to score anytime is a solid bet.
Something a bit random
Daniel Agger loves to foray forward for Liverpool and if his team are struggling to create openings we could see the tattooed centre-half making his way deep in to the Netherlands’ half. He has a great left foot, is good on the ball and is dangerous from corners. At 11/1 to score anytime he could be worth a punt.
- Netherlands v Denmark match fact guide
- Bluffer’s guide to the Netherlands
- Bluffer’s guide to Denmark