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The 27-year-old argues the Oranje have come up against good opposition in their opening two group matches, and vows to fight tooth and nail for qualification in their final match

Nigel de Jong has defended Netherlands' slow start to Euro 2012 after claiming that there is "no disgrace" in losing to Germany and Denmark.

The World Cup finalists of two years ago have not recorded a single point from their opening two games, following up a 1-0 loss to Denmark with a 2-1 reverse to Germany.

However, the Manchester City midfielder believes criticism of the Oranje has been undue because they were forced to kick off their European campaign in difficult circumstances.

"It's no disgrace to lose to Germany, and it's no disgrace to lose to the Danes," the 27-year-old told De Telegraaf.

"These things happen. In theory, we still have a chance, and we're going to try our hardest."
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Meanwhile, goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg blamed poor luck for Netherlands' tournament woes, with Germany striker Mario Gomez's match-winning double coming against the run of play.

"Those goals were borne out of nothing," he fumed. "The first 20 to 25 minutes were good from our perspective. In the second half, we knew what we had to do. This defeat is hard [to take]. No-one can understand it."

Netherlands will require a two-goal victory against Portugal in their final group game and hope that Germany beat Denmark if they are to progress to the quarter-finals.

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