Captain Mark van Bommel was at a loss to explain how the Netherlands had dominated yet still suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of a clinical Denmark in their opening game in Group B.
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Mark van Bommel, Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder and John Heitinga were left a little numb after the Netherlands utterly dominated their Group B opener against Denmark but still conspired to lose 1-0, with the two midfielders wondering how they managed to pass up so many chances at the Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv.
Mark van Bommel, Netherlands midfielder
We gave them one chance. That, and another from a corner, and that was it as far as the danger Denmark created. We created chances through playing football. We created a number of chances, good chances. It's strange that we've lost. It wasn't because of one single player. Three, four or even five guys had chances. One hit the post, and we had many other good opportunities.
I'm standing here a little bit speechless, because these three points were very important. It's not over, though. There are two more matches to come. [Scoring goals] is what it's all about. We played very well, but we didn't win. I prefer to play badly and win 1-0. We have to win [the remaining two games]. We have no other choice.
Rafael van der Vaart, Netherlands midfielder
It was a match where you thought it would go in eventually, but that didn't happen, and when you miss so many chances – and actually we gave one or two chances away – and end up losing 1-0, that's just disappointing. The ball has to go in, and it's very disappointing. When you shoot at goal 25 times and you don't score any, then you don't deserve to win. You never can be satisfied with a defeat.
We have to win twice to progress – we have to, that's a clear mission. We really have to go for it now. If we had won today then we knew a draw against Germany would mean we were already doing well, but now we just have to win twice. We have to wait and see what happens.
Wesley Sneijder, Netherlands midfielder
It's painful. The only positive thing we can take out of this match is that we played really well at times and created lots of chances. We'll also create chances against Germany – that's our strength – but they have to be converted or it's over for us.
Dominating the match isn't enough. Look what's happened – we're leaving empty-handed. We missed that last bit of sharpness. If you truly dominate a match, you don't let your opponent get into it and you put your chances away. We started well, in the opening 20 minutes we should have scored a couple and then everything would have been fine. We could maybe even have then racked up more. But instead the first goal fell at the other end, and we spent the rest of the game trying to repair the damage.
John Heitinga, Netherlands defender
I can't remember creating so many chances in one match and not scoring. It's a miracle that Denmark beat us today. They created half a chance, and scored. We couldn't count our chances on two hands, but we didn't score. So it was our fault, and we failed. If we had scored the chances that we got, normally, we would have won. Whether it's their good luck or our bad luck, we didn't score today, and that was bad.
We have to stay positive and look to the next match in four days. That is going to be a battle, but OK: we have to show that we can become champions. We have to win now, there's no excuse, and we are aware of that. That's what dominates the atmosphere in the dressing room. A match like should have been easy to win, and especially with the great attitude we had today. We know now we have to win against the Germans.