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Dutch held to 1-1 draw by Denmark
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A combative Denmark held Euro 2008-bound Netherlands to a 1-1 draw in the Dutch side's tournament warm-up match yesterday.

Ruud van Nistelrooy opened the scoring for the Dutch after 28 minutes but, with the home side squandering a dozen chances, Christian Poulsen equalised 10 minutes after the interval when he was set up by Nicklas Bendtner.

Despite a disappointing result, the Dutch performance was more creative than in Saturday's easy 3-0 win over Ukraine.

Coach Marco van Basten made four changes from the Ukraine friendly with the inclusion of Arjen Robben and Van Nistelrooy the most decisive.

Van Basten announced earlier this week that the Real Madrid striker would be his undisputed first choice and after 28 minutes Van Nistelrooy put the Dutch ahead following a fluent combination between Wesley Sneijder and Robben.

"We played a good first half and created enough chances but unfortunately they didn't go in," Van Basten said.

"It doesn't matter who gets the chance but in the case of Van Nistelrooy you know that he draws some extra attention from the defence," he told reporters.

Robben, who only played half of the 12 qualifying matches due to injuries, was in fine form and looks a certain starter in next month's tournament in Austria and Switzerland as one of the three attacking midfielders.

"Robben played well and was dangerous, which is satisfying," Van Basten said.

Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart, on the other hand, are used to performing in the axis of the pitch, which made the Dutch weak on the right flank as opposed to the left wing where Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Robben excelled.

Sneijder could be handed the task of holding midfielder to create space for Robin van Persie, if he recovers in time, or Dirk Kuyt to restore the balance.

The Dutch have one more warm up against Wales in Rotterdam on Sunday before starting their Euro campaign against world champions Italy on June 9, with France and Romania as their other opponents in Group C.

(Agencies via Shanghai Daily May 30, 2008)

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