- Associated Press - Saturday, June 9, 2012

WARSAW, POLAND (AP) - Germany, one of the main favorites to win Euro 2012, plays Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. Earlier Saturday, Denmark pulled off a shock 1-0 win over the Netherlands.

Here is a running account of Saturday’s play. All times are local to Poland.

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2234: Great chance for Portugal and Varela should have scored. Coentrao finds Nelson Oliveira who does very well to control the ball and even better to get it across the goal and into the path of Varela. Neuer is off his line and blocks but Varela knows he should have scored. Will Portugal get a better chance than that to score? 90 minutes is up.

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2231: Nani drifts in from the right and goes for goal with his left foot from outside the penalty area, but his shot is wide. Mesut Oezil is replaced by Toni Kroos for Germany. Portugal hit the bar from a looping cross by Nani. Portugal are definitely pressing for a goal to bring them level here and they only have four minutes left to find it.

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2228: Ronaldo breaks down the left and finds Fabio Coentrao, who takes a shot which is deflected and loops over the bar for corner. Neuer again comes to clear for Germany.

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2226: GaryLineker: “Yeah yeah, 22 men kick a ball about for 90 mins and….” (via Twitter)

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2225: Ronaldo cuts in from the left and unleashes a low drive at the German goal, which bounces up at Neuer. He parries it out for a corner which Portugal fail to take advantage of. Portugal make an attacking change with forward Silvestre Varela replacing midfielder Raul Meireles. Gomez is now being replaced by Miroslav Klose, who is 34 today. Will he celebrate his birthday with a late goal to secure victory for Germany?

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2219: A great header by Gomez to give his side the lead, when it looked like he was about to come off for Miroslav Klose. An inch-perfect cross from the right is met brilliantly by Gomez, who heads the ball back the way it came, low into the corner of the net. Gomez has had a quiet evening but his goal means Klose sits back down on the bench.

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2216: GOAL! Germany 1, Portugal 0. At last the deadlock is broken, Mario Gomez heading in from 12 yards.

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2209: Chance for Ronaldo as he is played in on goal and seems set to open the scoring until Jerome Boateng does really well to get across and make a fantastic block. The German hurt himself doing that but it almost definitely prevented a goal.

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2207: An hour has passed here and it is still 0-0. Joachim Loew might be tempted to bring on Miroslov Klose for some extra attacking impetus. Fabio Coentrao is booked for a late tackle on Bastian Schweinsteiger; Joao Moutinho is down and in some pain after being caught on the foot by Sami Khedira. He limps off for some treatment but should be fine to continue.

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2200: Oezil tricks his way into the penalty area and finds Lukas Podolski but Podolski gets the ball caught up in his feet and knocks it out for a goal kick. That looked like it could have been promising for Germany.

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2159: Portugal should look to exploit Boateng through Ronaldo at every opportunity. Boateng looks at a loss as to how to deal with him and you can’t help but feel that if Portugal score, it will come through an attack down the left hand side.

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2152: The Germans start the second half and force an early corner. Podolski and then Khedira have a go but the latter’s effort is deflected into the path of Mueller. He attempts to play the ball into the six yard area but an outstretched leg from Raul Meireles sees it out for a corner that comes to nothing. Nani then forces a corner after skipping past Philipp Lahm with alarming ease. His cross is headed out by Mats Hummels and Manuel Neuer punches the corner to safety.

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2135: A quiet first half in a game that promised so much before kick-off. Portugal proving difficult to break down for a German side that seems happier to keep the ball than attack. The biggest talking point will be Pepe’s strike that hit the underside of the bar before bouncing on the line, which is the closest we have come to a goal.

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2134: simonhaydon: That’s why the new extra assistants are there. Great call as Pepe shot bounces down onto German goal line. Two assistants to help ref. (via Twitter).

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HALF-TIME: Germany 0, Portugal 0

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2131: Pepe hits the crossbar as the ball drops to him from a corner. He angles the ball over Lahm and the ball hits the underside of the bar before bouncing on the line. Portugal appeal for the goal but _ rightly _ it was not given.

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2130: Holger Badstuber is booked for catching Nani, who goes down a good few seconds after contact was made. Replays show it was the correct decision to show Badstuber the yellow card. One minute left in the first half.

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2129: Chance for Germany. Mueller over hits his cross intended for Gomez, but Podolski reaches it. He plays the ball back across into the path of Mueller who runs on to the ball and hits his shot wide of the Portugal goal. Joachim Loew shouts and raises his hands in frustration as his side struggle to break Portugal down.

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2121: Ten minutes to go until the end of the first half and Germany starting to show a greater attacking intent. Portugal’s defense is holding firm, though. Lukas Podolski blazes over from ten yards when unmarked and should do much better with that. Oezil escapes down the left before he finds Podolski with a good pass and the man who has just signed for Arsenal should at least hit the target there.

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2110: There has been a warning from the stadium announcer that throwing things on to the pitch is not acceptable. Rolled up paper balls were thrown at Meireles when he went to take a corner in the first couple of minutes from a section of the stadium dominated by German fans.

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2106: The first time we see Ronaldo on the ball in a dangerous position and he causes trouble. His step-overs seem to hypnotize Jerome Boateng and Ronaldo skips past him and hits a low ball across the six yard box, which Philipp Lahm puts out for a corner. Also, yellow card for Helder Postiga. He slides in on Manuel Neuer after a teasing back pass. Referee Lannoy duly dishes out the first yellow of the game.

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2104: (at)chrislehourites: Super DEN upsets NED in Group B of Euro2012: “Raise your glass to the hard working people.” RollingStones (via Twitter).

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2057: Mueller drills the ball across the edge of the penalty box and into the path of Podolski, who drives the ball low at the Portugal goal. Patricio fumbles the ball away before eventually taking control of it.

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(at)simonhaydon: Cagey start to Germany vs Portugal game on a big pitch in high temperatures. Could be a war of attrition. (via Twitter)

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2048: It’s underway in Lviv, Ukraine, and Mario Gomez goes close for Germany, getting ahead of Pepe and directing a header goalwards. Patricio saves well. Portugal then gain a corner after a probing run and shot from Fabio Coentrao. Raul Meireles swings the ball in but Manuel Neuer punches the ball clear.

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2040: Elsewhere, our France reporter Jerome Pugmire writes that Alou Diarra is set to start in place of injured Yann M’Vila for France against England on Monday.

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2038: For Germany, Mesut Oezil will play against his club team-mate Ronaldo whilst Thomas Mueller of Bayern Munich will look to continue his fine form at international level as he aids Mario Gomez in attack. Miroslav Klose will be a danger should he come off the bench. The 34-year-old has scored 63 goals for his country.

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2025: Mario Gomez starts for Germany, with Mats Hummels at center back. Here are the lineups:

Germany: Neuer, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm, Boateng, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Oezil, Mueller, Podolski, Gomez.

Portugal: Patricio, Alves, Pepe, Coentrao, Pereira, Veloso, Moutinho, Meireles, Nani, Ronaldo, Postiga

Subs:

Germany substitutes: Wiese, Zieler, Schmelzer, Hoewedes, Mertesacker, Guendogan, Schuerrle, Bender, Kroos, Goetze, Reus, Klose.

Portugal substitues: Eduardo, Beto, Costa, Rolando, Lopes, Custodio, Quaresma, Micael, Viana, Almeida, Oliveira, Varela.

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1957: Denmark deserve credit for a stubborn display. They were difficult to break down and looked dangerous when they attacked. But the last time the Dutch lost their opening game at the European Championship, they ended up winning the tournament in 1988.

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1955: Shock result here at the Metalist Stadium as the Dutch are defeated by a resilient Denmark. Michael Krohn-Dehli took the only chance that fell his way in the first half while the Netherlands missed chance after chance. They will feel they should have had a penalty but the Dutch only have themselves to blame for not winning the match. If the 2010 World Cup runners-up lose to either Germany or Portugal, they will be out.

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PhillipsIan: First shock of Euro 2012 as Dutch beaten 1-0 by Denmark. Can the perennial underachievers get back into the tournament now? (via Twitter)

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1951: Sneijder’s delivery hits Huntelaar on the back of the head and the ball drifts wide of the far post. Huntelaar was furious not to get a penalty a couple of minutes ago when he tried to knock the ball past jacobsen. The ball did hit his hand, but the referee felt it was accidental.

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1945: Dennis Rommedahl comes off for Denmark and is replaced by Tobias Mikkelsen.

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1943: Seven minutes left for the Netherlands to find a goal and Dirk Kuyt comes on for defender Gregory van der Wiel. Simon Poulsen for Denmark is booked for time wasting over a throw-in. William Kvist is also booked for handball as he slips over whilst turning and uses his hand to keep the ball close to him.

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1940: Robben does well to keep the ball in play down the left and skips into the penalty area. He knocks the ball past Poulsen and onto his left foot before blazing over the bar. Another opportunity goes begging.

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1936: We are in the 78th minute here and the Netherlands are still losing 1-0, despite creating a host of chances and dominating the game.

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1934: What an opportunity for the Netherlands and what an astounding pass by Sneijder, who plays it from the halfway line with the outside of his boot into the path of Huntelaar, who tries to lift it over Andersen, who does well to block. Van Persie tries to pounce on the rebound but Andersen blocks again, before going down holding his face. Play is stopped but the Denmark goalkeeper is ok to continue.

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1932: Van der Vaart drives the ball across the six yard but Jacobsen is there to meet it and he puts it out for a corner. Denmark now make a change, Christian Eriksen replaced by Lasse Schone.

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(at)andrewb1970 RVP value is going down with every scuffed shot (via Twitter)

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1930: Two changes are imminent for the Dutch with Huntelaar and van der Vaart ready and waiting ominously on the sideline.

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1928: Comment From THuggins: It’s not looking good for the Netherlands, particularly with Germany and Portugal to come. From the 2010 World Cup final to the Euro 2012 scrapheap?

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PhillipsIan: Big pressure on the Dutch now at Euro 2012 with less than 25 minutes left. Also in their group: Germany and Portugal. (via Twitter)

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1925: Yellow card for Mark van Bommel, who goes in late on Niki Zimling. He can’t complain about that, the Netherlands captain.

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1922: Sneijder picks out the run of Robben into the area with another great pass, but Robben heads wide. They need to start taking their chances if they are going to take anything here, the 2010 World Cup runners-up.

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1920: Twitter simonhaydon:Smart spot from lino in Netherlands vs Denmark game. Good officiating from Slovenian team (via Twitter)

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1918: Dirk Kuyt, Luuk de Jong and Rafael van der Vaart are also on the bench for the Dutch as well as Huntelaar. An hour has been played here and Denmark lead 1-0.

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1915: And they look dangerous themselves going forward, Denmark. Simon Poulsen hits the byline and pulls the ball across the face of the Dutch goal. It evades everyone but Afellay puts the ball out for a corner, which is wasted.

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1912: Afellay now goes close, a low effort flashes wide of Andersen’s post. The Dutch win a corner soon after but Denmark hang on and clear.

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1909: PhillipsIan: If you ask me, Robin van Persie’s got too much on his mind. Sign a new contract with Arsenal - and the Euro 2012 goals will flow. (via Twitter)

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1909: Van Bommel strikes the post now for the Netherlands, the second time they have done so this match, after a stinging drive from from outside the penalty area. Oh dear Robin van Persie, far from his finest moment. Sneijder finds him with a delightful through ball and the Arsenal forward looks to strike first time with his lethal left foot, but kicks the air and falls over. That was another good chance for van Persie, brings a save from Andersen moments later with a right-footed drive.

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1907: at)rob171171 (via Twitter) Holland’s formation just not working and Denmark are aware of this and capitalising on this.

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1905: The Netherlands pass their way into the penalty area and Robin van Persie tries to force his way past Simon Kjaer. He doesn’t manage to but it is a sharp start to the second period for the Dutch.

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1903: Denmark get the second half underway. The players are back out on the pitch and there are no changes to either side.

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1854: You have to wonder if Netherlands manager Bert van Marwijk will be tempted to bring on Klaas-Jan Huntelaar at the start of the second half. He has seen his side create numerous chances but fail to hit the back of the net. The Netherlands will feel frustrated not to have scored in the first half, let alone be behind. They have missed several good opportunities, with Robin van Persie being the main culprit. Michael Krohn-Dehli scored for Denmark with a terrific finish and has turned in a lively first half performance.

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HALF TIME: NETHERLANDS 0 DENMARK 1

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Comment From THuggins Robin van Persie’s team are playing all the football, and not winning. Probably not an unfamiliar feeling for the Arsenal striker.

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1842: Krohn-Dehli tries his luck again for Denmark, testing Stekelenburg with low effort which brings a solid save. He has been impressive in the first half, Krohn-Dehli. Afellay goes close again, with tricky footwork getting him past Daniel Agger. He unleashes a right-footed drive which flies over the bar. Five minutes to go until half time. So close to levelling the scores as the Netherlands strike the post through Arjen Robben. It is a terrible ball out from the goalkeeper Andersen. The ball lands at the feet of Robben who gallops forward, shifts the ball to his left foot and curls a low shot into the post.

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1837:Denmark push forward again and the ball bounces towards Nicklas Bendtner, who fails to get it under control with his back to goal. That looked threatening for a moment, there and Denmark seem strong going forward.

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PhillipsIan: Here’s the AP Euro 2012 Live Blog. Want your say on the match? Tweet to (at)simonhaydon and (at)phillipsian http://apne.ws/Kp9t9e%0A (via Twitter)

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1833: Afellay had to go off for treatment after that knock from Vlaar. He comes back on after being checked by the physio but Vlaar went into him with some force. Accidentally, of course. Robben sends over a wicked corner and Rob Vlaar escapes his marker and flicks the ball across the goal from the near post. Nobody is there to poke in for the Netherlands though. Denmark survive.

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1825: Denmark lead against the run of play. Krohn-Dehli recieves the ball and weaves his way past two players before slotting the ball through the legs of Stekelenburg. It is a shock lead but a superb finish.

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1824: Michael Krohn-Dehli scored for Denmark.

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1820 The Netherlands are playing possession football here at the Metalist Stadium and in 27C (81F) heat, you can’t blame them. Denmark will tire first if they keep having to chase the ball. Big chance for the Netherlands. Van Persie releases Robben down the right who breaks into the penalty area. He shapes to shoot before seeing Sneijder unmarked in the center. In the end, Robben is caught in two minds and by the time he tries to play the ball to Sneijder, Lars Jacobsen slides in and pokes the ball back to his keeper from close range.

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1818: 15 minutes in and the Netherlands look the brighter side. The best chance so far fell to Van Persie, who failed to convert. Free-kick for the Netherlands, about 25 yards from goal. Sneijder runs over it, leaving Van Persie to strike but he slips in his run up and the wall blocks. The Netherlands force a corner from the resulting play, but Denmark clear.

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1813: They are looking dangerous on the attack, the Netherlands. Van Persie picks out the run of Sneijder with a superbly weighted ball, but Sneijder can’t get enough power on the header as he tries to direct it across goal. Afellay tries his luck again for Holland, forcing his way into the left side of the penalty area with a couple of step-overs. He cuts in on his right foot but curls over the bar.

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1810: Denmark win a free-kick from around thirty yards out. Christian Eriksen takes but hits it straight into the wall. Chance for Van Persie and he should have scored. Robben pulls the ball across the six yard box and it hits the heel of Simon Kjaer. The ball spins to Van Persie who hits it first time wide of the goal from around ten yards.

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1807:

Van Persie wins a header, knocking it back towards Ibrahim Afellay. The ball takes a fraction too long to come down for him though and there was enough pressure on him from the defender as he shot high and wide.

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1803: Agger wins a header from a free-kick, which is taken with comfort by Stekelenburg. Willems later attempts a shot which flies over. It was close, though and Willems is clearly not fazed by the big stage.

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1802

The Netherlands kick-off. The pitch looks in very good condition and there is a sea of orange in the stadium. Dutch fans have turned out in big numbers.

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1800: They’re off.It’s a warm evening in Kharkiv.

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1758: Stephan Andersen is in goal for Denmark after first choice Thomas Sorensen was ruled out of the tournament through injury. Daniel Agger captains Denmark and Mark van Bommel is captain of the Netherlands. The players shake hands and kick-off is imminent. The Netherlands are in their traditional orange kit whilst Denmark are in white. According to his official website, Huntelaar has scored 31 goals in 52 games for the Netherlands. He was top scorer in qualifying, too, with twelve goals in eight games.

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1753: Denmark substitutes: Lindegaard, Christian Poulsen, Bjelland, Okore, Schone, Silberbauer, Pedersen, Wass, Jakob Poulsen, Kahlenberg, Mikkelsen, Schmeichel.Netherlands substitutes: Vorm, Mathijsen, Bouma, Kuyt, Huntelaar, Schaars, Strootman, Luuk De Jong, Narsingh, Boulahrouz, Van der Vaart, Krul.

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1752: Striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is on the substitutes bench for the Netherlands.

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1750: Four stewards hospitalized after Russia v Czech Republic. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/soccer/russia-fans-at-euro-2012-attack-stewards-after-czech-match-4-stewards-hospitalized-158294485.html

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1745: There you have it. At 18 years and 71 days, Jetro Willems becomes the youngest player to compete at a European Championship. Willems breaks the record set by Enzo Scifo of Belgium, who was 18 years and 115 days. Scifo played against Yugoslavia during Euro 1984.

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1741: Teams: Denmark: Andersen, Agger, Jacobsen, Kjaer, Poulsen, Eriksen, Krohn-Dehli, Kvist, Zimling, Bendtner, Rommedhal. Netherlands: Stekelenburg, Heitinga, Van der Wiel, Vlaar, Willems, Afellay, De Jong, Sneijder, Van Bommel, Robben, Van Persie.