NETHERLANDS 2-0 DENMARK, Johannesburg, 14/06/10
Agger (OG) 46, Kuyt 85
Two second-half goals, one of them an own goal, were enough for the Netherlands to retain the UFWC title and start their World Cup campaign with a victory.
The first half was one of very few good chances, with both teams mostly restricted to long-range efforts as they failed to break through the defence in the final third of the pitch. However it was Denmark who had the two best chances of the half.
In the 27th minute a cross from Rommedahl found the head of Bendtner, who headed the ball just wide. Then in the 37th minute Kahlenberg broke into the box from the left and aimed a decent shot for the top corner but Dutch goalkeeper Stekelenburg was equal to it as he palmed it out of play.
Luckily for Dutch fans the second half started off much better, with a goal only 36 seconds after the restart. Robin Van Persie broke forward straight away and crossed the ball into the box. The ball found the head of Dane defender Simon Poulsen, who accidentally headed the ball backwards, and deflected off Agger into the net. The goal seemed to knock Denmark off their feet, as they failed to make any decent chances for the rest of the match.
Van Persie could have got a goal himself six minutes later, but his feet failed him as the ball went harmlessly wide. The game went into another period of relative calm after this, before the introduction of Eljero Elia for the Netherlands, as he burst forward splitting the defence open on several occasions, making it seem inevitable that the Dutch would score again.
And indeed they would, with Elia unlucky to not be the scorer. A through-ball from Sneijder set Elia one-on-one with Dane ‘keeper Sorensen. He succeeded in hitting the ball past the keeper but failed to score as his shot hit the post. But it all worked out as Kuyt had followed through after the shot, as he slotted the ball into an empty net.
It wasn’t all bad news for Denmark as Poulsen gained a measure of redemption by clearing the ball off the line after Afellay headed the ball past Sorensen.
This victory makes this the second-best reign in UFWC history with 16 defences so far. The Netherlands’ next title match will be on June 19th against Japan, which we will preview for you later.