Denmark vs. Portugal Match Preview

Possible Lineups:

Denmark:

GK- Stephan Andersen
D- Daniel Agger, Simon Kjaer, Simon Poulsen, Lars Jacobsen
MF- William Kvist, Niki Zimling, Christian Eriksen
F- Dennis Rommedahl, Nicklas Bendtner, Michael Krohn-Delhi

Portugal:

GK- Rui Patrício
D- Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fábio Coentrão, João Pereira
MF- Raul Meireles, João Moutinho, Miguel Veloso
F- Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hélder Postiga

Analysis:

Portugal will remain favorites for this game, despite Denmark’s shock defeat of the Netherlands on Saturday. Anything but three points will be a let down, and will probably see them out. Four points will not earn a team from Group B a spot in the quarterfinals.

Denmark were able to hold one of the best attacking teams in the tournament, shutting them out in somewhat convincing fashion. Something tells me that Portugal won’t miss their chances though, and Denmark should be brought back down to earth from the opening whistle. If they can snatch a point from this game, they will be ecstatic.

I expect Portugal to have plenty of possession and score at least once in the first half. The first goal will be very important. If you’re a Portuguese fan, Denmark scoring first would be the worst possible case. If this squad see that they can do it again, they will remain confident throughout and frustrate the favorites. I didn’t give them a shot at even a point before the tournament started, so I’ve been wrong about the group B leaders once already. Regardless, if all goes to plan, they should be outplayed for most of the game. The longer it stays level, however, the more Denmark will believe.

Key Players:

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Pepe (Portugal), Daniel Agger (Denmark)

There’s not much else to say about Ronaldo. The guy is top class, and should be in on plenty of chances. I’ll give him a goal in this one, and I expect him to give the Denmark back line plenty of headaches over the course of the 90 minutes.

Pepe played well against Germany, both defending and getting forward for headers. Not conceding will be a huge boost for Portugal, as I don’t see Denmark keeping a clean sheet this game. Keep an eye on him in all thirds of the field.

Finally, Agger will be busy, and the Liverpool man will have to be at his best to lead the back four for Denmark. They did it against Holland, so it is not impossible, and you can’t write them off. A shutout in the first half would do wonders for their confidence throughout the game.

Score Prediction:

Denmark will probably take the defensive role this game, and look to find opportunities to get upfield only when they can afford it. If they can somehow get a result, they will begin to believe that they can get out of the group of death, despite being picked by almost everybody to finish last of the four. On paper, it’s Portugal by multiple goals. But the same could’ve been said for the Netherlands game. A one goal win for Portugal is my prediction. 2-1 seems about right, with Ronaldo on the score sheet for Portugal. It should be a good day of football, setting up for a great finish to the group on Sunday.

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