Monday, June 14, 2010
Legendary Dutch midfield enforcer, Edgar Davids would have been pleased to see Nigel de Jong's performance against Denmark. The Netherlands need an inspired Nigel de Jong as much as Argentina relies on Javier Mascherano. De Jong's first half performance was awesome as he broke up play after Danish play. He gave the Danish midfield no time at all, disrupting their rhythm. Martin Joergensen and Christian Poulsen looked extremely nervous with De Jong snapping at their heels.
His hard tackling style will get him into card trouble but a suspect Dutch defence will always need a defensive shield ahead of them. Thus his athleticism and ability to recover the ball are qualities which makes him an important feature in this Dutch side loaded with natural attacking talents who do not like defending.
Against Denmark, the absence of Arjen Robben reduced the potency of the Dutch attack. The lack of pace was evident and overall, the Netherlands struggled to impose their brand of total football. Denmark defended comfortably well in spite of that unlucky Simon Poulsen own goal. It wasn't until substitute Eljero Elia injected some pace and dribbling ability that Denmark was put on the back foot. Elia scared the socks off the Danish defence and finally created a goal which glossed over the performance of the Oranjemen.
A good opening match for the Dutch and they should get better as the tournament progresses. Eljero Elia, in his 25 minute cameo, has shown that Orange optimism is very much alive even without the indispensable Arjen Robben.
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