The Group of Death continues today — for Denmark, finding itself atop Group B’s standings after a surprise 1-0 knocking-off of the Netherlands, a win would get them in pretty position for advancing, though they’ll still face a German team who might also have six points after today. For Portugal, winning would clearly help them take advantage of the Holland slip-up — they’ll finish Group B going against them head-to-head.
Lineups after the jump –
Portugal (playing the 4-3-3): Rui Patricio; Joao Pereira, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao*; Meireles, Veloso, Joao Moutinho; Nani, Postiga*, C-Ron.
Subs: Eduardo, Custodio, Almeida, Quaresma, Nelson Oliveira, Ricardo Costa, Rolando, Ruben Micael, Varela, Miguel Lopes, Hugo Viana, Beto.
Denmark (update, more of a 4-2-3-1): Andersen; Jacobsen, Kjaer, Agger, Simon Poulsen*; Kvist*, Zimling; Rommedahl, Eriksen, Krohn-Dehli; Bendtner.
Subs: Lindegaard, Christian Poulsen, Bjelland, Okore, Schone, Silberbauer, Pedersen, Wass, Jakob Poulsen, Kahlenberg, Mikkelsen, Schmeichel.
* = holding yellow card from previous game
Pregame: Anyone else growing weary of the Ted commercial? Just checking.
Also: The Russian Federation just got slapped down for fan violence — $150,000 fine, and the threat of docking them six points from the group standings if there are additional incidents. This could get interesting. (And potentially routlicious for some Round of 8 games.)
Anthems: First, it’s Portugal. C-Ron’s too locked in to sing. Then Denmark’s — titled, “There Is A Lovely Land.” Crowd shot of a patriotic Danish fan eating popcorn.
We have kickoff. Denmark in red, and Portugal in white.
1′: First tackle already. Nani knocks Krohn-Dehli down.
2′: First pout from C-Ron, on a missed connection upfield.
4′: CHANCE! Eriksen sends a ball over goal after he’s sweetly passed to inside the box. News flash: Pepe is displeased.
6′: Fabio Coentrao shows off his abs trying to slide to the ball to win a corner. Doesn’t win a corner, but I’m sure the ladies at Kickette are delighted.
8′: Because C-Ron’s not 11 feet tall, that attempted cross to him didn’t work out.
9′: Free kick for Portugal from a mildly dangerous area. Doesn’t work out.
12′: Nani crosses in, the ball drops in between Postiga and C-Ron and is cleared back for a corner, and Andersen has to punch a goalward ball out to safety.
15′: Niki Zimling (the Euro 2012 player who sounds most like a Beverly Hills 90210 actress) is down. He’s hobbled. We might have a sub coming.
16′: Yep, it’s Jakob Poulsen, not to be confused with Simon Poulsen, who’s already out there.
18′: C-Ron has a chance from about 20-25 out, but hits it wide.
19′: Pepe is writhing around in the middle of the field after Bendtner steps on his foot.
20′: C-Ron wins a free kick just outside the box after being bumped by Kjaer, and tries his luck. He rockets it over the crossbar.
23′: Postiga wins a free kick, tackled by Agger, and is on the end of a great chance, but hits it wide. Corner to Portugal, and then …
24′: GOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL Portugal! Pepe converts the corner kick with a header, from a run in which he ends up outside the goalmouth, but with enough power to sneak it back.
26′: Ominous stat for Danish fans: Portugal 11-1-1 when scoring first.
27′: Another free kick for Portugal. Denmark’s getting kind of de Jongy with it, aren’t they?
28′: Postiga takes a nice feed from C-Ron, but Agger’s able to handle that. Corner to Portugal, and Postiga heads it, but right to Andersen.
29′: OOOOPS. Meireles gets a yellow for a handball in the Portugeuse third. Nothing doing on the resultant free kick.
31′: Lovely run from C-Ron, who feeds Postiga, but Postiga’s not fast enough, Andersen scoops it up, and then Postiga pigpiles Andersen. Yep, Portugal’s found its center forward of the future.
33′: Cut-and-paste: Portugal wins a free kick on a Danish tackle.
34′: And again — C-Ron taken down by Jacobsen just outside the box.
35′: C-Ron hits Kjaer in the face with the free kick, corner to Portugal .. and Andersen catches it. Still, though, Portugal’s dominating here, and Denmark’s strategy seems to be: Muscle.
36′: GOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL Portugal! They work the ball from one flank to the other, and Nani finds Postiga on a sweet cross, which he calmly tucks away.
37′: Eriksen takes a shot, but it’s right at the keeper.
41′: GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL Denmark! Rui Patricio comes out on a threat, and gets switched up — it’s Bendtner on the other post to head it in for the finish. That was a little embarrassing for Portugal.
43′: Replay of the Denmark goal — that was a really sweet header assist from Krohn-Delhi. He’s having himself a solid tourney.
44′: CHANCE! A cross from Nani hits Postiga, with C-Ron right behind him, but he can’t finish, and Denmark’s able to stop the clown car in time.
45′: Bendtner tries to challenge Pepe on a one-on-one. Pepe strips him.
45′ + 2: Postiga takes a rest on the field — a writhing-around, fake pain, while the rest of his team is on a run rest — to close out the half.
TWEEEET! Halftime. Portugal looks in control, save for its moment of ineptitude at its own goal.
And we’re back with the second half.
49′: AWWWWWW. C-Ron goes on a run which looks like it’s going to be promising, but shoots directly at Andersen on his finish. Will C-Ron score in this tournament? At all?
52′: C-Ron touch update: Only 13 touches so far.
54′: So, that Agger tackle on Postiga just outside the box? I guess we’re not going to call that.
56′: Jacob Poulsen gets a yellow for shoving Nani in the back. Seems warranted.
57′: Portugal wins a free kick on a Danish tackle. Punched out by Andersen.
58′: Denmark wins a corner but it’s cleared all the way to the other end of the field. Rommedahl takes a rest on the field.
60′: Looks like a hammy. Rommedahl off, Mikkelsen on. (Gotta stretch first — you don’t want to pull your hammy.)
63′: CHANCE! Pretty strike from Kvist there, but it skips over the bar.
64′: Substitute — After failing to convert on another C-Ron feed inside the box, Postiga gives way to Nelson Oliveira.
71′: Oliveira takes a crack at goal, but his shot rolls right to Andersen.
72′: CHANCE! Bendtner gets the necessary separation to take a shot, but pulls it wide of goal. Cursing commences.
73′: Meireles tries his luck from just outside the 18. It went into orbit.
74′: Some rasslin’ at the Danish end between Jacobsen and Fabio Coentrao.
75′: Ridiculous attempt at something pass or shot-like from a double-teamed C-Ron on the far left wing.
78′: WOW! On a counter to a free-kick that could have made it 2-2, C-Ron was one-on-one against Andersen at the other end, had miles of goal on either side to aim at — and he kicked it weakly wide of the post. What, can he only score in international play against North Korea?
80′: HOLY CRAP! GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL DENMARK! Bendtner gets his second of the game, on a header on a pretty cross from the right wing. C-Ron feels especially terrible now for being so Torrible just a couple of minutes ago.
81′: Least surprising yellow card of the game — it’s on Jacobsen, who’s been straight muggin’ all game. C-Ron sends the free kick low and into Andersen’s waiting arms.
83′: Nani is tripped near the box by the ghost of Hamlet’s father. No foul called.
84′: C-Ron with another chance in the box, but Agger and Jacobsen close in on him, and he can only get a weak foot on it mid-dive. No foul called. We play on.
85′: NO WAY! I was about to make a “put Varela on” joke, and he’s actually on, for Meireles.
87′: REDEMPTION! GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL PORTUGAL! After muffing the game-tying chance against Germany as a late sub last game, Varela stops a cross that C-Ron whiffs on, settles it, and pokes it into the right side of the post. CRAAAAAAY ZZEEEE.
89′: Rolando on for a very tired Nani.
90′ + 2: Into four minutes of stoppage time, and Oliveira ties to connect with the funny-runnin’ C-Ron on a break, but can’t reach him. C-Ron responds maturely by kicking Kvist from behind, and gets a yellow for his troubles.
90′ + 4: OOOOOOOO. A dangerous ball rolls to Schone, and on what might be his first touch of the game, skies what could be the last chance for Denmark to get level.
FULL-TIME. Despite C-Ron’s lack of heroics and Bendtner’s actual heroics, Portugal escapes with the win, gets its first three points in group, Denmark stays at three, and if the Netherlands can upset or at least tie Germany today, it’s a wide-open group.