Netherlands v Denmark preview

Preview for Saturday evening's Euro 2012 Group B showdown between Netherlands and Denmark in Kharkiv (kick-off 5pm BST).

Last Updated: 09/06/12 at 18:59

Van Marwijk: Expects a tough game

Van Marwijk: Expects a tough game

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Holland coach Bert van Marwijk is desperate to maintain focus amongst his players so they can deliver on the expectations they have created for themselves going into Euro 2012.

The Dutch go into their opening match against Denmark as clear favourites for the match and among the favourites for the tournament.

However, turning up alone will not be enough and, with the issue of racism already hanging over the camp following claims of monkey chants being directed at players during an open session in Krakow, Van Marwijk wants to make sure nothing distracts his players from the job at hand.

Van Marwijk declined to address the racism claims at his pre-match press conference, insisting he had not heard anything, and instead warned there was a tough task ahead even if the Danes have already accepted the underdog tag.

"I think we are the favourites as well, but it will not be easy," Van Marwijk said through an interpreter.

"You can make the comparison to two years ago (when Holland beat Denmark 2-0 at the World Cup en route to the final) but two years ago everything was new for me and for the players in a big tournament.

"We have that experience now, but that just means you can't be complacent because you've done it before. We need to make sure we are as sharp as possible."

Van Marwijk expects few tactical surprises from the Danes.

"We both have the same way of playing, we don't have any secrets from one other," he said.

"A lot of Danish players play in Holland or in the big competitions across Europe, and they are very similar to two years ago, with maybe four or five new players. We maybe have two or three different players.

"So we know it will not be easy but we are going for the win."

The message was not much different from Danish coach Martin Olsen.

"Everything has already been said and written," he said. "We can say we are a little jealous of the Dutch team, that we are not in their shoes, because they are the favourites. There is no doubt about that.

"They are a good team in all positions, and on the bench as well, they are filled with great quality."

But while he was happy to cede the favourites tag to his rivals, Olsen promised no lack of fight on the pitch.

"The Dutch have become better since the last time we met but so have we. The Dutch are a team who will say if they do not win this title it will be an enormous disappointment, but I do not think we can say that. I think we will say if we can get through this group we will have won.

"We are playing against a better team. That's the realistic situation but it doesn't mean we will throw the towel in. Of course we would like to be the favourites because that means you are the better team."

Van Marwijk confirmed the Dutch will be without defender Joris Mathijsen on Saturday as he is struggling with a hamstring injury.

"He is making progress and after talking to the medical staff I have to keep him with the team."

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