KHARKIV — Holland striker Dirk Kuyt says he is disappointed he is set to start the Oranje’s opening Uefa Euro 2012 Group B football encounter with Denmark in Kharkiv today on the bench.
“Of course I am disappointed. All players starting off on the bench will be clearly so. That’s also the case with me,” said the veteran forward, who has just left Liverpool for Fenerbahce.
“Even so, I accept the role of substitute. I am aware that my rivals in attack (Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie, Ibrahim Afellay) are top drawer.”
He added: “Reserves such as myself, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or Rafael van der Vaart, we must put pride aside. The important thing is the team. And even the reserves have to do everything they can to help the team reach its goal and win the tournament.”
Kuyt (31) can still hope that the Dutch will see his vast experience of the international game — he has scored 24 goals in 85 games — as an asset to fall back upon if need be, should Bert van Marwijk’s World Cup finalists require something special in reserve.
He has featured regularly enough under Van Marwijk’s tutelage, but with Afellay back from injury and Robben and van Persie in blistering recent form, any impact he does hope to make will be from the bench.
Netherlands’ black players were allegedly subjected to racist abuse during their open training session in the Polish city of Krakow.
Dutch captain Mark van Bommel branded the monkey chants as “a real disgrace”.
Van Bommel said: “You need to open your ears. If you did hear it, and don’t want to hear it, that is even worse.”
Uefa officials said an incident had occurred, but it was a protest about Krakow not being given any Euro 2012 matches, The Times reported.
The news comes on the opening day of the tournament, which is being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
“It’s the last thing Uefa needs — just a few hours before the opening game. The issue of racism has stalked the preparations for this competition and once again it has reared its head.”
The Dutch players were reportedly targeted by Polish fans as they began their practice session at the Stadion Miejski.
Van Bommel responded by leading the squad to the far side of the pitch.
The abuse comes just a day after they had visited the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, which is nearby.
Van Bommel said: “It is a real disgrace, especially after getting back from Auschwitz, that you are confronted with this.
“We will take it up with Uefa and if it happens at a match we will talk to the referee and ask him to take us off the field.”
Martin Lipton, from the Daily Mirror, is in Krakow and suggested there was a large number of Polish fans involved in the abuse.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “As they were doing a lap on the pitch, around 500 of the local fans started doing monkey chants at the black players.
“It became worse on the second lap, at which point Van Bommel took the players to the other side of the stadium. It’s the only story in the Dutch Press today.”