The Netherlands may not be the tournament favourites but they are an outside bet to win their first FIFA World Cup™, according to Denmark coach Morten Olsen. The Dutch got their South Africa 2010 campaign off to a winning start with a methodical 2-0 win over the Danes at Soccer City, thanks to an own goal and a late tap-in from Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt.
The Netherlands are attempting to land their first world crown after coming close in the 1974 and 1978 Finals, but are just one of many contenders looming to win this year's tournament. Olsen, who has been Denmark's national coach for a decade, was impressed with the Oranje performance, enhanced by Budwieser Man of the Match Wesley Sneijder in midfield, but said they have some way to go yet to lift the Trophy on 11 July.
"The Dutch team are perhaps not the favourites, but they are an outside bet for the World Cup," Olsen said. "They have players like Robin van Persie, Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder, all wonderful players, while Eljero Elia who came on today made an impact."
Olsen, who played for Denmark at Mexico 1986, said the Netherlands, under coach Bert van Marwijk, are difficult opponents. "It is always hard to play against a team which always keeps the ball, physically and mentally," he said.
Olsen would not condemn left-back Simon Poulsen's match-turning own goal, just a minute after halftime, which gave the Dutch the initiative to protect the lead until Kuyt rounded it off with his goal five minutes from time.
"It is not an excuse, but there was 45 minutes still to go," he said. "It was a boost for the Netherlands who had a few problems against us, it made things hard and I thought we played well defending in the first half."