Group B
Denmark 2-3 Portugal



Real Madrid's Pepe celebrates with the two outstretched arms after scoring on 24 minutes for the Portuguese as the Danish defenders argue 



By Alex Byrom
Deputy Football Editor reporting from Lviv, Ukraine

Substitute Sylvestre Varela scored with a thunderous shot in the 87th minute to give Portugal their first win of the tournament as they recovered from conceding twice to beat Denmark.

Denmark had come from 2-0 down as Nicklas Bendtner scored twice - in the 80th minute and just before the break - that looked like it mmight have stolen a point for the Danes after Pepe an Postiga had put Portugal in command after 35 minutes. FC Porto's Varela, who missed a gloruous chance against the Germans in their first gameBoth sides now have 3 points but crucially, have scored some goals, which put the pressure on Holland in particular in the game's later match which Germany won 2-1

Both sides after contrasting results from matchday one, Denmark producing an heroic performance to beat Netherlands 1-0, whilst Portugal suffered a narrow 1-0 loss to Germany. Despite this, both managers decided no changes were necessary, so it was the same starting eleven from four days' ago. 



Nicklas Bendtner has scored in all five of his matches against Portugal - scoring six goals against them for his country Denmark.


Both sides made a cagey start, Portugal more so; you would have expected that after the opening game defeat as they knew the pressure was on them. But it didn't take long for them to find their feet as Ronaldo fired over from inside the area after a neat cross by the right back Pereira.  

On 12 minutes, Nani found a fantastic cross which just evaded Postiga's head and the keeper should probably have come and claimed. Andersen looked far from convincing either when Veloso - after taking a short corner and driving in a cross which the keeper parried away to safety. 
Ronaldo was picking up dangerous positions and was always in space and Meireles came forward and drove a shot that was blocked but fell to the Real Madrid man but he was off target, dragging the shot away. 
On 23 minutes came the build up to the opener: Veloso delivered a better set piece and Kjaer just got it away for a corner ahead of Postiga. But the Danes were caught napping from the resulting corner as Pepe headed in his 3rd international goal - glancing in Moutinho's inswinging cross. 

The lead was doubled on 35 minutes when Postiga fired in. Before the game, several Portuguese legends including Luis Figo had been calling for the veteran striker to be dropped. But he got in front of his man to volley home at the near post to get on the end of Nani's delicious delivery. 

Denmark created some decent chances towards the end of the half, with first Eriksen testing Patricio who held. Then they got back in the game and halved the deficit. Nicklas Bendtner headed home completely unmarked from Krohn-Delhi's header across after a terrific cross by Jacob Poulson. 
Just before the break, Denmark nearly shot themselves in the foot by gifting the Portuguese another goal. Again it was Nani causing the danger on the right and Postiga was blocked at the near post by the keeper and Kjaer did well to get the rebound away from Ronaldo.  

Portugal began the second half knowing they needed another goal to wrap up the game and whilst it remained 2-1, the Danes would always fancy their chances. So Portugal needed to put away their chances. 
However, Ronaldo failed to do so when played in by Nani; he was denied by an excellent save by Andersen. 

On the hour, Denmark's hopes of snatching a point were dashed when influential midfielder Dennis Rommedahl pulled up with a hamstring injury surely ending his tournament.

Denmark though, were still able to create chances. Bendtner controlled a long ball and it fell to Kvist who hit a sweet volley that wasn't far wide of the goal. He has never scored for his country. 

Finally, Postiga was replaced to a standing ovation that silenced his critics and was replaced with Nelson Oliveira - the young 21 year old. 
Both sides were now creating chances and it was an open game. Ronaldo could have scored - and finished the game as well - when he was brilliantly played in by Nani - he was just onside - and he fired wide. Very unlike Ronaldo. 


Denmark have lost 12 of the last 13 games in the European Championship they have been behind in. 


And the Portugal captain was made to pay as Denmark levelled through Bendtner again. A fantastic cross from the right by Jacobsen and Bendtner came in behind Pepe and headed it in, via the keeper's fingertip and the post. 

Denmark, who finished above Portugal in the qualifying group and secured their place as group winners with a 2-1 win over the Portugal, now sensed a victory. 

But it was Portugal who stole all three points late on. Substitute Vareyla, who had only been on the pitch just two minutes when Coentrao found a cross, and although he fluffed the initial effort, he slammed in the rebound before the keeper could think to win it for Portugal and send them, if momentarily, to the top of group B. 

But all wasn't finished as Schone, who had just come on himself, had a great chance to snatch an unlikely draw but snatched his shot wide and Portugal triumphed. If Germany follow the script and beat Denmark, only a point will be sufficent for the Portuguese and another quarter-final will be theirs. 





Wednesday 13th June                UEFA Euro 2012: Poland & Ukraine                  Group B               Arena Lviv, Lviv (Ukraine)

Denmark 2-3 Portugal                                                   KO 5pm                 Live on ITV1/HD               (HT 1-2)    

Bendtner 40, 80        Pepe 24
Postiga 35
Varela 87                 





1. Stephan Andersen-  6/10  Commanded his area well. Poor direction on corners and didn't look as strong when coming for crosses. 

6. Lars Jacobsen-  8/10  Fantastic game by showing his experience again down the right. Dealt with Ronaldo and Coentrao very well. Superb cross for equaliser.    

4. Daniel Agger (C)-  7/10  Good display. Headed and pushed his way to everything and cleared the danger. Second half, as the Danes pushed up.   

3. Simon Kjaer-  7/10  Not overly good. Competitive and always strong in the tackle. Did get caught too far up, especially in the second half.   

5. Simon Poulson-  6.5/10  Always a threat down the left, although couldn't cope with Nani's pace and guile. 

10. Dennis Rommedahl-  6.5/10  Extreme builder. Tried to influence the game as much as possible. Unfortunately went off injured with an injury that will end his tournament.   

7. William Kvist-  7.5/10  A real hero. Blocked and harried in midfield like his life depended on it. A real stand out performer. Passing was good, held position well, protected back four, and kept a good tab on Sniejder for most of the game, keeping him quiet. Booked.  

8. Cristian Eriksen-  8/10  Better performance by the Ajax man. Pulled the strings in midfield and all the best things Denmark did came through him. Switched the play well. 

21. Niki Zimling-  4/10  Couldn't really get into the game and then came off injured after 20 minutes. 

10. Michael Krohn-Delhi- 6/10  Assisted the first goal but couldn't get into the game enough of the times. Struggled to make an impact.  

11. Nicklas Bendtner- 9/10  Superb performance. Held the ball up well and his work off the ball was more impressive as he chased and harried the centre backs. Headed in two goals to give Denmark hope of snatching a point.   


Substitutes bench:-  
16. Lindegaard (GK), 22. Schmeichel (GK), 2. C. Poulson, 12. Bjelland, 13. Okore, 14. Schone, 15. Silberbauer, 17. Pedersen, 18. Wass, 19. J. Poulson, 20. Kahlenberg, 23. Mikklesen  


Subs used:     

J. Poulson (for Zimling 21)-  4.5/10  Enjoyed the role of protector as he was brought on to protect lead. Passing was tidy. Cross for Krohn-Delhi set up the first goal.

Mikklesen (for Rommedahl 61)-  3/10  Came on for Rommedahl and was often crowded out. No support on the flank.

Schone (for Krohn-Delhi 90)-  0.5/10  No time to make an impact. 


Booked:         J. Poulson (56), Jacobsen (81)




12 Rui Patricio-  6.5/10  Not a bad game. Came for crosses and dealt with anything that came his way. Will be disappointed about the Danes' equaliser.  

21 Joao Pereira-  6.5/10   A stubborn figure at the back. Not really troubled defensively so ventured forward. Better distribution needed.

3 Pepe-  7/10   Great header for the goal attacking the near post. Caught out of position for Bendtner's equaliser at the back post. Solid enough up 'til that point.  

2 Bruno Alves-  6.5/10   Found dealing with Bendtner easy in the first half. However , was never comfortable with the ball going in behind him.   

5 Fabio Contreao-  6.5/10   Wandered up and down the pitch and never really supported his attackers or defenders. Definitely more of a winger. Great cross for winner.

4 Miguel Veloso-  7/10   Good passing. Joined attacks well and never wasted a pass. Some excellent deliveries into the box.

8 Joao Moutinho-  5/10   Game passed him by a little. Couldn't stamp his authority on the game and struggled to make an impact in the offensive third.

16 Raul Merieles-  5.5/10  Supposed to be a top class player but wasted possession and wayward shooting from decent positions.

17 Luis Nani-  7.5/10   Controlled the tempo of the play on the wing and was always a threat down the flank. Superb crosses into the box - one ended with a great finish by Postiga. Created 2 other chances for Ronaldo.   

23 Helder Postiga-  8/10  Ran the line well. Held the ball up and was the focal target in the box. Well taken goal too. The big man answered his critics.

7 Cristiano Ronaldo (C)-  8.5/10  Calm in possession and brought the team through the game. Couldn't end his lean spell with some poor finishing from the second top scorer in Europe. Real impact on the game.

Substitutes bench:- 
1 Eduardo (GK), 22 Beto (GK), 13 Costa, 14 Rolando, 19 Miguel Lopes, 6 Custodio, 15 Ruben Micael, 20 Viana, 10 Quaresma, 9 Hugo 
Almeida, 11 Oliveira, 18 Varela.


Subs used:    

Oliveira (for Helder Postiga- 64 mins)-  3.5/10  A man with a bright future ahead of him- had one or two decent moments where he looked to get in good areas. Linked up well with the strikers and held the ball up well.

Varela (for Merieles- 84 mins)-  5/10  Scored the winner and looked lvely when he came on.

Rolando (for Nani- 89 mins)-  0.5/10  No time to make an impact.


Booked:      Meireles (28), Ronaldo (90)

Sent-off:      None


My Man of the Match:
    Nicklas Bendtner (Denmark)- Rating 9/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:   Joao Moutinho (Portugal)- Rating 5/10



Referee: Craig Thomson (Scotland)- 9/10
Attendance: 34,915



Match Facts:

Possession:  Denmark- 58%               
Portugal- 42%

Shots at goal: Denmark- 9               Portugal- 17

Shots on target: Denmark- 6               Portugal- 12

Shots off target: Denmark- 3               Portugal- 5

Corners: Denmark- 7               Portugal- 6

Fouls: Denmark- 18               Portugal- 9

Offsides: Denmark- 4               Portugal- 2

Assists: Denmark- 2 (Krohn-Delhi & Jacobsen)                Portugal- 3 (Moutinho, Nani & Coentrao)




Denmark head coach Morten Olsen:  "It's a horrible feeling to concede so close to the end and end up losing the game. I think we started well and were on top for the first ten minutes, winning three or four corners, but Portugal came into it and began dominating without really threatening. We struggled to find our rhythm but we really improved in the second half and in the last ten minutes we came into our own. I was proud of the way we played against the Netherlands [winning 1-0], but in a sense I'm prouder here of our second-half performance. We couldn't get our reward in the end but that is the rule of the game and everyone experiences it once in their careers; but hopefully not much more than that. We merited a point. I think with a bit of luck we could have got a draw. Every player has qualities and we missed Niki Zimling when he went off injured. He helps build up our game, so we had to fix it in the second half and find a solution. It's good we had the ball the most but it is goals that count; our goals were also better but Portugal got three. The last goal came from a situation where people are tired, we only half-cleared, but that's how it is. We put Lasse Schøne in and he was fresh, a guy with a real shot on him, and he could have scored. I think it will be difficult for injured players – Zimling, [Dennis] Rommedahl and [Daniel] Agger – to be back on Sunday [against Germany] but we'll see. What Agger showed tonight was a real captain's performance."

Portugal head coach Paulo Bento:  "It was different to the Germany game – we scored – but beyond that we continued what we did against Germany. Our organisation was good but we can still improve. We created chances, especially in the first half, and I think 2-0 would have been a just result at half-time. In the second period we didn't sit back on our lead; we looked for a third. We benefitted from the fact Denmark were looking for a goal and we controlled the game. We didn't lose our concentration. Denmark scored from their first real chance. We had great control until then and in the first half it was going well. Denmark's goal opened things up and we went in search of a third while retaining defensive control. The team were focused throughout and showed real quality. The equaliser was unjust but we didn't bow our heads; we showed character and got the winner we deserved. We've had two good games now against two great opponents. We've had obstacles but we're continuing on our path, the right path. We suffered after the first game but these three points means it is now in our hands. We need to get the players ready to face the Netherlands."


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