KOLOBRZEG, Poland: Anything but a victory over Denmark would be a minor disaster for Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and their Netherlands teammates on Saturday.
They all know the deal: As runners-up in the 2010 World Cup, they can't claim success this time around unless they return to Amsterdam with the European Championship trophy.
Failing to beat the Danes in their first Group B match would complicate things to say the least, with Germany and Portugal left to play in the most challenging group of the competition.
"We realize this is perhaps our last chance to win a tournament," Netherlands winger Dirk Kuyt said. The core of the team which lost the World Cup final to Spain is expected to start against Denmark in Kharkiv.
If football followed logic, Denmark would stand little chance on Saturday. The Danes simply cannot match the individual brilliance of orange-shirted superstars like Robben, Van Persie or Wesley Sneijder.
The name that commands the most respect in Denmark's roster is probably Kasper Schmeichel. And that's not because of his role as third-choice goalkeeper, but the fact that he's the son (and spitting image) of Peter Schmeichel, the former Denmark and Manchester United great.
"We don't have big stars like Holland," Denmark defender Daniel Agger told The Associated Press. "We have to work as a unit, and play like one." (AP/TW)