Arjen Robben, playing in his first competitive match for the Netherlands in two years, gave a display which deserved more than to finish on the losing side against Denmark in Kharkiv.
Article top media content
Playing in his first competitive international since the 2010 FIFA World Cup final, Arjen Robben showed Dutch fans what they had been missing with a direct, purposeful display in the Netherlands' Group B opener against Denmark.
Though the Oranje succumbed 1-0 in Kharkiv, the FC Bayern München winger carried a threat at the Metalist Stadium, and topped the Castrol EDGE Index with a tournament-high score of 9.59 as a result.
Not only did he create four opportunities for others, he and Robin van Persie (8.95) were responsible for seven efforts apiece of the 28 Bert van Marwijk's side mustered on a frustrating evening for one of the UEFA EURO 2012 favourites.
One of Robben's shots was on target, eliciting a smart block from goalkeeper Stephan Andersen (9.17), who rivalled the 28-year-old for first place in the match ranking with his repertoire of five saves.
It was on the right, rather than centrally, where Robben really caused problems. The former Chelsea FC player gave left-back Simon Poulsen a difficult evening, making seven deliveries or solo runs into the penalty area.
Castrol EDGE Index: Netherlands v Denmark
1. Arjen Robben (NED) 9.59
2. Stephan Andersen (DEN) 9.17
3. Robin van Persie (NED) 8.95
4. (DEN) 8.81
5. Simon Poulsen (DEN) 8.38
5 – Saves made by Denmark goalkeeper Andersen, the highlight being a double block to deny Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Van Persie.
7 – Shots on goal, without scoring, by Robben and the normally clinical Van Persie.
10 – Chances created by Wesley Sneijder – no player has fashioned more in a UEFA European Championship finals game between 1980 and 2012.
28 – The number of attempts, including blocked shots, the Netherlands had on goal; in contrast Denmark had eight.
1967 – The year Denmark had last defeated the Oranje. In the eight matches since, they had drawn five and lost three.
Stephan Andersen: "We played a great match; everybody was disciplined. It was tough, and it's clear that Holland had more chances. We put in a good effort and we've started the tournament in a great way."