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Monday, June 14, 2010
ESPNsoccernet: June 15, 9:49 AM UK
Van Marwijk delighted with Dutch win

Soccernet staff

Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk stressed the importance of winning their Group E opening match after his side beat Denmark 2-0 at Soccer City on Monday.

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The Dutch initially struggled to create clear openings in Johannesburg but a second-half own goal by Simon Poulsen and a late Dirk Kuyt effort were enough for the Oranje to see off an organised Denmark team.

"I've been thinking about this first game for a long, long time," Van Marwijk said. "I've always said that this was the most important match because a good beginning to a world championship is so important.

"It's always a tough match. Today, as you could see, there was a bit of tension with the players. It was difficult, but we won, which is the most important thing."

"Beforehand, I think we were the favourites, so you know you're going to face a very defensive opponent. That means that in your build-up, you cannot afford to make many mistakes, but we played well, we didn't give away too many opportunities and all the players should be complimented for that.

"I think we made a reasonably good impression and that we never panicked - not for one moment. In the end, we are really pleased with this win."

Opposite number Morten Olsen paid tribute to the Dutch, but admitted that things could have been different had they not conceded a goal so early on in the second half.

Olsen said: "It was a deserved victory, I think. The Dutch team is perhaps not the favourite, but certainly an outsider to win the World Cup.

"It could have been different if we didn't have the thing that happened a few seconds into the second half, but that's the kind of thing that decides football matches - the first goal and we know that.

"Obviously now the Dutch were in the position they really liked. They would have enjoyed the second half much more, that's for sure."

But he paid tribute to his team, saying: "What I would like to say about my own team is that they put in a good effort. We were well positioned in the pitch during the first half, not so much in the second half."

Olsen also shed light on his decision to field Nicklas Bendtner, less than 24 hours after insisting the Arsenal striker "cannot play" due to injury.

He said: "We had to take some chances in this match and I was not bluffing when I said Nicklas Bendtner was not going to play. He wasn't going to play. Then yesterday we had new injuries from Jon Dahl Tomasson and Daniel Jensen. We didn't have the same number of offensive players, so we had to take the risk."

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