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Our Opponents: Denmark

Afternoon to you!  It’s half time just now for Argentina v Nigeria.  I thought I would do a brief round up of what we can expect in the next couple weeks.  First up is Denmark who the Dutch face Monday night.

According to my fellow blogger on the Fan’s Network the “youthful” Oranje side is not worthy of the respect most afford it.  Let’s put that false claim to rest before we dig into the Danish team shall we?  The age of each player likely to feature in the starting eleven against Denmark is as follows:

Stekelenburg – 28

van der Wiel – 22; Heitinga – 26; Mathijsen – 30; van Bronckhorst – 35

van Bommel – 33; de Jong – 25; Kuyt – 29; Sneijder – 26; van der Vaart – 27

van Persie – 26

That gives us an average age of 27.9.  Not exactly a youthful squad is it?  In fact you would say that most of these players are in their prime and have just come off of successful domestic campaigns.  And if my math is correct the average age of the whole squad is 27.25: not exactly infantile.

Now for some information about Denmark’s squad.  In their squad they have five players currently plying their trade in the Netherlands while their coach Morten Olsen was once manager of Ajax.  In the past the Danes and the Netherlands have opposed each other 27 times.  Denmark have won 6 times, drawn 10 and lost 11 times scoring 36 goals and conceding 55 in the process. 

They have some household names in the shape of Sorenson, Agger and Bendtner all who play in the Premier League.  They will almost certainly be without Nicklas Bendtner through injury and don’t necessarily have a like for like replacement to bring in.  On paper their defense is their strongest part of the pitch with the experience Sorensen organizing Daniel Agger and the up and coming Simon Kjaer in front of him.

Denmark did not qualify for the last World Cup but did feature in Korea/Japan in the 2002 edition.  In 2002 they went out to England 3-0 in the second round.  No doubt they’re going to want to improve upon that and while they do have a few real talents in their ranks you have to believe that job number one is to advance out of the group and then see what comes next.  Second in this group would likely mean a second round match up against Italy would almost certainly prove to be too much.

My prediction is a 1-0 or 2-0 win for the Dutch after a tight game with few chances.

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  1. June 13, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    Hello from your fellow Fans’ Network blogger! Couldn’t help coming upon your write-up. Very good stuff.

    I have to eat a little crow here, because you’re absolutely right about the age of the squad: while it’s younger by than 2006 by a half-year(27.7 years amongst all 23 versus a little above 28), it’s about equal to Denmark which itself will rely heavily on Bendtner and Kjaer who are both early 20s. I was aiming a bit colloquially but I was missed on the facts. So thanks for the correction!

    That all said your prediction sounds close. Robben is far more replaceable to you than either Bendtner or Kjaer to the Netherlands. But with the quality of both defenses a 0-0 draw isn’t impossible and Morten Olsen’s basically said that’s what we’ll play for. I also was affected by what seemed a very jittery performance by the Dutch in that friendly against Ghana. For a 4-1 win, it just seemed to lack a certain confidence. Our friendlies have hardly been better – or indeed as good – but the experience of getting through a rough qualifying group will I think be more like what we’ll see this year.

    Either way, good fortune to both!

    • June 13, 2010 at 10:13 PM

      I think yourselves, Denmark, and Cameroon have reasonable chances of getting through. Denmark seems to have a more settled squad however and the chances are good.

      Anything less than a win for the Dutch though would certainly fray some nerves. It will be tense…but a good game.

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