Nigel de Jong, arguably the City player most likely to come away with a World Cup winner's medal, made a mixed start to his campaign in Johannesburg this lunch time.
He started alongside Mark van Bommel in Holland's 4-2-3-1. It was an easy start - Denmark, playing a cautious and counter-attacking 4-1-4-1 had very little play for de Jong to break down. He made a few tackles, used the ball neatly but had a quiet afternoon in store.
But after half an hour he jumped into a two footed tackle on Martin Jorgensen. It ought to have been a straight red card. He subsequently got a yellow but it was not a redress of football justice. These tackles are getting increasingly indefensible. I know tough tackling is the point of Nigel de Jong and that mistakes can happen but there is no avoiding the fact that he chooses the malicious option more often than he ought to. I suppose when he broke Stuart Holden's leg in an international friendly the scales fell from my eyes. It's not what I like to see.
Anyway, de Jong was instrumental in Holland's opening goal. Just after half time he played a perfectly weighted ball through to Robin van Persie, who got to the byline and crossed - Simon Poulsen headed into Daniel Agger's back and Holland were ahead.
De Jong came off with six minutes left for his lookalike and understudy Demy de Zeeuw. Holland won 2-0.