Denmark 2-1 Portugal
The Portuguese National Team put in a sub-par performance and were punished as Denmark ran out easy 2-1 winners. Portugal’s loss placed Portugal at second in the group, with Denmark winning the group and thus qualifying for Euro 2012. Throughout the match, Denmark controlled the tempo, constantly forcing the Portuguese team into making mistakes, mistakes that they would pay for. This game was tough to swallow for me. Despite the 3-1 scoreline from the last time the two teams met, this was always going to be a tough game for the Portuguese. The Danish team plays all of their matches in the Parken Staduim, in Copenhagen. Teams typically have a hard time earning points in this stadium, for some reason. It is a bit like Stoke City, who has a reputation for their imperious home form. The Danish coach, Morten Olsen, stated before the match that Denmark had a plan for dealing with Portugal. Oh how he was right.
The game started off in Denmark’s favor, with the Danes having a goal disallowed after it was adjudged offside. That should have been a wake-up call for Portugal, but unfortunately, it really wasn’t. Denmark then proceeded to take the lead after a Michael Krohn-Dehli shot took a slight deflection off the face of Rolando. Denmark were ahead, and so far, they deserved it. Soon after, however, Rolando had a golden opportunity to redeem himself and open his account for Portugal. Carlos Martins swung a free kick in from the left, which fell to an unmarked Rolando, whose side-footed shot scooted wide. Portugal began to find their feet in the match after Rolando’s miss, most notably shown through Carlos Martins and Ronaldo’s shots, which were easily held by the keeper. A quickly taken free kick was passed to Joao Moutinho, whose pass to the middle for an open Helder Postiga was snuffed out by a Danish defender. After the half, Denmark pounced slightly out of the blue. Some lax defending from Eliseu and Rolando allowed a perfect split ball to be played, which was then squared expertly for Bendtner to finish to give Denmark a 2-0 lead. The Danish continued to go close and Portugal continued to disappoint. Finally, in extra time at the end of the game, Portugal were rewarded for what they didn’t deserve. Ronaldo hit a marvellous free-kick to give Portugal a consolation goal and to make the final score 2-1 Denmark.
Portugal will now play in the play-offs, which will occur in November and will be a two-legged match system.
Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Eliseu(Quaresma), Rolando, Bruno Alves, Carlos Martins(Miguel Veloso), Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles, Nani, Ronaldo, Helder Postiga(Nuno Gomes)
With this game, Ronaldo has moved into the top five in the list of all-time appearances. Also, with his goal, he has moved to fourth in the all-time goals list.
Man of the Match: Nani
Crutch of the Match: Rolando/Carlos Martins