Bert van Marwijk: Says his Dutch side cannot be complacent despite beating the Danes before
Bert van Marwijk warned against complacency ahead of Holland's Group B opener with Denmark in Kharkiv.
The Dutch beat the Danes 2-0 two years ago en route to the World Cup final and go into this clash as clear favourites.
But, amid claims of monkey chants being directed at his players during an open training session in Krakow, Van Marwijk wants to make sure nothing distracts his squad from the job at hand.
The Dutch coach 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.
"You can make the comparison to two years ago 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, saying: "We both have the same way of playing, we don't have any secrets from one another.
"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, who commented: "Everything has already been said and written. 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 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."
In his absence, Ron Vlaar or Wilfred Bouma will partner Everton's John Heitinga at the heart of the back four.
The 18-year-old Jetro Willems of PSV Eindhoven will become the youngest player to participate in the Euros if he gets the nod at left-back.
Denmark are likely to be without Niki Zimling to face the Dutch.
Zimling had been set to line up alongside his fellow defensive midfielder William Kvist but he was injured towards the end of Friday's training session.
The Club Brugge man had to be stretchered off the field and, although it was unclear what he had injured, he was taken away in an ambulance.
Stephan Andersen will be in goal for the Danes because first-choice Thomas Sorensen misses the tournament due to a back injury he picked up during a friendly defeat to Brazil.
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The Top 3 Teams of Previous Tournaments
|2008||Spain||Germany||Russia / Turkey|
|2004||Greece||Portugal||Netherlands / Czech Republic|
|2000||France||Italy||Netherlands / Portugal|
|1996||Germany||Czech Republic||France / England|
|1992||Denmark||Germany||Netherlands / Sweden|
|1988||Netherlands||Soviet Union||Italy / West Germany|
|1984||France||Spain||Denmark / Portugal|
|1972||West Germany||Soviet Union||Belgium|