World Cup 2010, Netherlands Vs. Denmark Preview: Robben-less Oranje Open Tournament With Danes

The Netherlands will be without their best player, right wing Arjen Robben, who injured his hamstring in the Dutch's final friendly before leaving for South Africa. Dont cry too long for the Netherlands, however. To replace him, they'll bring in Rafeal van der Vaart, and elite attacker in his own right. And against Denmark, they should not miss a beat.

That speaks more to the lack of a drop from Robben to van der Vaart, as the Danes bring a disciplined and adept team into South Africa. Still, Morten Olsen is suffering from a number of significant injuries. As of now, it looks like Nicklas Bendtner, Denmark's best scoring option, misses this match. Defender Simon Kjaer is also a doubt, as is goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.

Those absences will create an even larger talent gap between the Danes and the Dutch, a gap that's created by Dutch talents Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder. Even the Dutch's ancillary talents, like Dirk Kuyt, would be welcomes with open-arms by other coaches. While a Dutch back line that features the likes of John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen and the venerable Giovanni van Bronckhorst leaves a little to be desired, it combined with the Dutch's midfield strength will be difficult for Denmark to over come.

And as always, the Dutch are in fine form coming into this World Cup. In their last appearance in Amsterdam, the Oranje rolled to a 6-1 win over Hungary. Granted, coach Bert van Marjwik would likely trade that result for Robben's healthy, but the lopsided score remains an indication of where the Netherlands team is at.

If there is an upset to be pulled, it will dep end on the two Danish defensive midfielders, Christian and Jakob Poulsen, willing battles at the point the Dutch move into the middle part of the final third, taking the possession they win an quickly moving into attack, before the Dutch have had a chance to get their ever-advancing fullbacks back into the defense.

Whether Denmark can accomplish that or not, it stands to be an entertaining affair. If waking up for the early game yesterday was not worth the alarm, today's will make up for your lost sleep.

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