Van Nistelrooy scores but Holland held
Eindhoven, May 30:
Ruud van Nistelrooy scored on his return to the Netherlands team but Denmark still salvaged a 1-1 draw in a friendly match on Thursday ahead of the European Championship.
The Netherlands mixed attacking flair with terrible finishing and defensive frailty, allowing Christian Poulsen to equalise in the 56th for Denmark. Marco van Basten’s forwards often exchanged slick passes and set up good scoring chances there were repeatedly squandered with just Danish goalkeeper Anders Moller Christensen to beat.
Van Nistelrooy at least showed he still has his scoring touch by rounding off the game’s best sequence for his 31st goal in 60 internationals. It was set up by two other Real Madrid stars. Wesley Sneijder moved the ball to Arjen Robben, whose one-touch pass was perfectly weighted for Van Nistelrooy to slide under Christensen.
At the other end, the Dutch team looked shaky in defense, with Nicklas Bendtner constantly causing problems and setting up chances for Poulsen.
In the second half, Van der Sar repeatedly shouted at his defenders, trying to organise the sometimes ragged formation.
Van Basten’s team could have scored at least five more in the first half but rarely threatened after the interval. The closest the Netherlands came in the second half was Sneijder’s shot against the bar in the 69th minute and Demy de Zeeuw’s injury-time effort that beat the goalkeeper but was ruled offside.
Rafael van der Vaart squandered four good chances with wayward shots, although the worst miss came from defender Joris Mathijsen who headed wide of an open net after a corner. Robben also came close, but shot wide twice when he had only the goalkeeper to beat.
The Netherlands beat Ukraine 3-0 on Saturday and play Wales on Sunday. They face world champions Italy, runners-up France and Romania in the toughest group of the Euros.
In Duisburg, Germany, Tuncay Sanli and Semih Senturk both scored to give Turkey a 2-0 win over Finland in their final warm-up game. Sanli gave Turkey the lead in the 15th minute, taking a cross from Sabri Sarioglu to slot the ball into the right corner of the net from close range. Senturk then put the game away in the 88th, off a cross from Kazim Kazim.
It was the third loss for Finland in the three games that coach Stuart Baxter has been in charge since taking over from Roy Hodgson.
Turkey, who lost 3-2 to Uruguay in another friendly on Sunday, will take on co-hosts Switzerland, Portugal and Czech Republic in next month’s tournament. Finland did not qualify for Euro 2008, and Hodgson left to coach Fulham in the Premier League.
Turkey kept creating chances in the first half, taking advantage of the space conceded by the Finnish back line and frequently challenging goalkeeper Peter Enckelman.
Sabri had a chance to increase the lead in the 25th, but his shot from inside the area was pushed aside by Enckelman.