Goals: Pepe (24’), Postiga (36’), Bendtner (41’), Bendtner (80’), Varela (87’)
Denmark Lineup: Anderson, Agger, Kjaer, Poulsen, Jacobsen, Kvist, Zimling, Krohn-Delhi, Rommedahl, Eriksen, Bendtner
Substitute(s): Poulsen for Zimling (16’), Mikkelsen for Rommedahl (60’), Schøne for Krohn-Delhi (90’)
Portugal Lineup: Patrício, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fábio Coentrão, João Pereira, Meireles, João Moutinho, Veloso, Postiga, Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo
Substitute(s): Oliveira for Postiga (64’), Varela for Meireles (84’), Rolando for Nani (89’)
In order to provide a better sense of how the game played out, I’ll be updating this section as the game goes on live. This should be Portugal’s game despite Denmark getting off to a superb start with their shocking victory over the Netherlands. A loss for Portugal would all but see them out, and if Denmark can get a point, they will put themselves in a great position to get through to the quarterfinals. What a moment that would be. Two games to go still, so no getting ahead of themselves. A one goal game is my prediction, with Portugal winning 2-1.
Whistle blows and the game gets underway…
Three corners in the first five minutes for Denmark. Great showing early on; looks like they came to play and not simply sit back. The Portuguese defense will be called on plenty over the course of the game.
First real chances beginning to come in for Portugal, as a free kick is turned away by the Danish back line, led by the very vocal Daniel Agger. Been all Denmark in the first ten minutes however.
A good spell from both teams here, interrupted by an apparent injury to Niki Zimling. Is he heading off here?
…He’s slowing limping to the sideline, and Jakob Poulsen enters for the midfielder. How much will that impact the game?
Ronaldo hits one wide. Huge chance from 20 yards. Expect him to do better next time. Good last ten minutes from the favorites though. And now Pepe is down, holding his ankle. Luckily, he’s back up and waiting to come back on. Sigh of relief from the Portuguese camp.
Ronaldo is fouled running down the left wing. Only way to stop him. Free kick from just outside the box…he’s hit it, but well too high. Somewhat surprised to see him take that one instead of crossing it in. Hard to question a man of his ability though.
GOAL! IT’S PEPE FOR PORTUGAL! The corner is swung in and Pepe meets it with his head near post. Big goal for Portugal, in terms of the game and the group standings. Goal occurred in the 24th minute. Can Denmark respond before halftime?
Portugal of course wouldn’t mind getting one or two more here, as goal differential could be so important when the final standings come out. Meireles is booked for a handball to stop a Denmark ball through. Appeals for a possible red, but the referee was having none of it. The free kick is wasted, goal kick.
Ronaldo fouled just outside the box, and we’ll probably see him shoot one here. He’s been looking frustrated recently. Can he do it here? It’s deflected off the wall…and over for a corner kick. Replay shows it went off the head of a Denmark player. Probably going in if he doesn’t get there. 36th minute here as the corner is collected by Anderson.
GOAL! POSTIGA, ASSISTED FROM NANI! Make it two, as Postiga make the most of a great ball from Nani on the right, and slots it high into the net from seven yards out.
Denmark will surely be looking forward to halftime now. That 36th minute goal has really hurt them here. What will the response be for the rest of the half, and rest of the game?
THERE’S A RESPONSE! BENDTNER HAS SCORED! A free header into an open goal after a great cross deep into the box is headed back across goal by Krohn-Delhi, past Patrício, and right into the head of a wide open Bendtner. Game on!
Just when I thought that Denmark would try to get to the locker room down by two, they get the 41st minute goal from the Sunderland striker. Huge moment in the game and renewed confidence for Denmark. Two minutes of added time here.
Halftime! Denmark-1 Portugal-2
Plenty to look forward to in the second half. If I had to opportunity to take back my 2-1 full time prediction, I think I might have to. You figure there’s at least one more goal to be had in the second 45 minutes. Portugal have looked the better side, but Denmark have proved that they are no fluke. 135 minutes to go in the group stage for these two squads, but a lot will be decided in the next 45.
Time for a break…I’ll be back for the much anticipated second half.
Second half begins! What will we witness after the very eventful first half?
Good start to the half, with Denmark looking promising and Ronaldo missing an early chance. 40 minutes to go here.
Poulsen with a foul on Nani…easy yellow card. It feels like both teams are going for it, but don’t want to make a big mistake at the same time. Portugal still looks like the team who will prevail here as the 60th minute approaches.
Rommedahl has been subbed out for Tobias Mikkelsen. A new look up front for Denmark, although it wasn’t planned. Rommedahl out with an apparent injury to the leg, probably hamstring. Plenty of injury concerns for their last group game against Germany on Sunday.
Nélson Oliveira comes on for Postiga now, the second goal scorer for Portugal. Both teams have new faces up front with about a half hour to go.
70th minutes come around, and neither team looks like they can find that key goal. I expect it to open up in the next ten minutes though, with Denmark having to put the pressure on at some point to at least attempt to get the equalizer.
And if they get that equalizer, Bendtner will probably be the man, as he gets the ball on his left foot just inside the box and hits one wide. Good work from the Danes, but they’ll need to do better if they want a point.
Nani called for a handball just outside the box on the left wing. Good set piece chance for Denmark…close! But Patrício knocks it away.
And now Ronaldo is through by himself, but hits it wide! Unreal! Much talk about how he would have knocked it in at Real Madrid. I felt that all the criticism of him up to this point as been unfair, but that was one he should have scored. Portugal still up 2-1 in the 79th minute.
BUT NOT ANYMORE! IT’S BENDTNER AGAIN! What a goal, as he heads in a cross from Jacobsen at the back post. Patrício got a hand to it, but it goes off the post and in. My goodness…
That Ronaldo miss is looking even worse now for Portugal. That goal occurred in the 80th minute. 10 minutes plus added time to go here. You just had the feeling that there’d be one more goal in it.
Now, just like in their first game against Germany, Portugal are forced to go for it with five minutes to go. A draw does them basically nothing. They need a win.
Denmark, on the other hand, would be ecstatic with just a point. I didn’t give them a chance at more than one when the group started. This would be something else for them.
VARELA! PORTUGAL HAVE GOTTEN THE KEY GOAL! Varela, who had just come in for Meireles, has hit a wonderful strike and put his country up in the 87th minute. Unbelievable! Denmark are now the ones who need a goal with just a few minutes to go.
Four minutes to be added on. Denmark push forward, down by one. What a great game this has been.
Ronaldo booked for a foul after Oliveira fails to find him through on the break. Two and a half minutes to go.
Ninety seconds to go. Denmark will be looking for one more good chance.
And Lasse Schøne, who just replaced Krohn-Delhi as stoppage time began, has gotten that chance…and wasted it. He hits his shot yards over the bar from an open position in the box. They won’t get a better opportunity with less than a minute to go.
THE WHISTLE BLOWS AND PORTUGAL HAS WON! Huge three points for Portugal, as they are now even with Denmark in the standings. We’ll wait to see what happens in the Germany-Netherlands game here in about an hour, but it will take a lot to top the game we’ve just seen. Game of the tournament thus far.
The star players of this game are Bendtner and Varela. Bendtner got his team back into the game and has shown what a threat he is. Varela, although only on the field for 10 minutes, is the hero of this game, keeping Portugal in this tournament. They needed a win, and he got them the win.
If there’s any flop player of the game, it’s Ronaldo. Should’ve gotten at least one if not more, and could have won the game before the Bendtner equalizer. He can thank Varela for the late winner.
As we look ahead to the final day of group B on Sunday, Denmark and Portugal are now tied, with three points and an even goal differential. Both will need to get a point to increase their chances, with a win from either probably guaranteeing them a spot in the quarterfinals. Denmark face a tough task against Germany, who will be playing for everything knowing that they will not have the group, or even a spot in the next round locked up, even if they beat the Netherlands today. Portugal play the Netherlands, who will have to get a result as well to advance. Of the four groups, the ending day in group B will probably be the best of any of them. I predicted Germany and the Netherlands going through, but if the Germans beat the Dutch later today, especially by multiple goals, their Euro campaign could be over by the group stage. Get ready; it’s going to be one amazing finish to the “Group of Death” on Sunday!