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Denmark torn between pride and relief

Published: Saturday 9 June 2012, 21.01CET
Denmark defender Simon Kjær conceded that his team were fortunate in their surprise 1-0 win against the Netherlands but emphasised that they "stuck to our plan" to earn the points.
by Pelle Rasmussen
from Metalist Stadium
Published: Saturday 9 June 2012, 21.01CET

Denmark torn between pride and relief

Denmark defender Simon Kjær conceded that his team were fortunate in their surprise 1-0 win against the Netherlands but emphasised that they "stuck to our plan" to earn the points.

There was pride and no little relief in the Denmark camp after Morten Olsen's men kicked off their Group B campaign with a surprise 1-0 win against the Netherlands, with defender Simon Kjær keen to emphasise his team's tactical adjustments. Goalkeeper Stephan Andersen, meanwhile, recalled his superb double save with a quarter of an hour remaining as the highlight of a fine display.

Simon Kjær, Denmark defender
They had their chances, but we stood firm and it went as we'd hoped. [At the start] we pushed forward a bit too much, which gave them too much space to work with, but we realised we shouldn't do that. It was partly due to luck on our part that they didn't manage to score, and then we made adjustments to the team based on what we saw was happening, so that's a good thing.

[At half-time] we were told to keep on pushing forward. We knew if we kept to a defensive formation, it would be very difficult for us since they have such skilled forwards. We watched [Wesley] Sneijder have one shot after the other, and it's very difficult to defend against that. We managed to shut them down effectively, but we had to go out and continue pushing them – to try and hold on to the ball. We couldn't just let them have it, and we did a good job.

We could probably be OK with a draw [against Portugal on Tuesday], but we don't want to play for that. We will play like we did today and try to win. We won today; we play on our terms and we don't compromise either in attack or defence. [The Netherlands] almost got a goal because of that, but we stuck to our plan and we should be proud of that.

Simon Poulsen, Denmark defender
When you are in such a difficult group, you hope you can surprise everyone and start well – and I think we succeeded! We were a bit lucky, but we also analysed our opponents very well. We know they're very skilful, but we also knew there would be opportunities when we had the ball.

Portugal will be a different kind of opponent. There are always good things we can focus on and there are some aspects of our play we can improve on. My own performance was acceptable. I started poorly in the first 15 minutes and gave away some balls, but after that I got more involved in the match and got forward while still defending well.

Stephan Andersen, Denmark goalkeeper
We played a great match and everybody kept their discipline. It was tough, and it's clear that Holland had more chances. We put in a good effort, we kept going and we have started the tournament in a great way. We're taking it one match at a time, obviously. Our entire focus was on this match, now we're shifting focus to Portugal, and naturally that's also a game we'll be playing to win. That's what we do in every match, but it will be at least as difficult as this one was.

[Towards the end] I think it was [Klaas-Jan] Huntelaar who got through, but fortunately I managed to block his shot. I couldn't see if it was [Robin] Van Persie who was there, and I went for the ball. I'm not sure if he kicked the ball directly or he hit my hand, but I just tried to stop the ball and keep it away – which fortunately I did.

Niki Zimling, Denmark midfielder
We were obviously playing against a first-class team, and they are good at applying pressure. They had a lot of opportunities that could have been very dangerous for us, but we were lucky they weren't as sharp today as they can be. And I have to say, our defence did really well. We were efficient, which is the main thing. This is a game about scoring goals, which we did today. That's why we got the three points. I'll admit we still have a lot of work to do, but, for now, we're happy with the win.

The whole team did their share of the work - one man can't stop the opposition. It's the whole team that shuts them down. We did well. There were times when they were given too much space. We need to work on this to ensure it doesn't happen in the future.

Last updated: 25/09/14 5.16CET

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