The Holland coach, Bert van Marwijk, refused to blame Robin van Persie for missing the chances that led to the defeat against Denmark that left his team as the surprise first victims of the group of death – but blamed just about everyone else, including the referee for failing to award a last-minute penalty for handball by Lars Jacobsen.
Van Marwijk is coming under increasing pressure from his own supporters to play either Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or Rafael van der Vaart up front with Van Persie. He brought both on before the end but it was too late.
"It was not only Van Persie who missed chances, it's not about one player," he said. "Four, five or six other players missed chances too, plus the referee had a chance to give us a penalty and didn't. The ball just didn't want to go in. We were better than our opponents but you still have to score that goal and when there's a penalty that doesn't go in your favour there's nothing you can do."
It is debatable whether Holland were better than Denmark. The Dutch started well but had nothing in reply when their opponents went ahead. Perfectly understandably Morten Olsen claimed his side had been the better team too.
"Football is not only about the first 20 minutes, it is about 90 minutes and more," the Denmark coach said. "We said we had to reach a high level to win a match in this group and that is what happened. The Dutch had some chances but so did we. We trusted our own way of playing football. It was important to do that, to show why we had qualified for this tournament."
In Group B's other opening fixture, the tournament's second-favourites Germany wore Portugal down to secure a 1–0 victory thanks to a superb Mario Gomez header.
Olsen said: "Holland will be under pressure now against Germany but we will not find it easy against Portugal. Every team here is at such a high level, sometimes you need to be a bit lucky."
If Olsen was lucky to find a matchwinner in Michael Krohn-Dehli, at least he was big enough to admit it. "I made a mistake two years ago," he said, having overlooked his goalscorer, now with Brondby, for the World Cup. "But Michael is now in his best age."