Denmark 2-3 Portugal: this was a make-or-break for os Navegadores — if they didn’t win, they were likely done in the tourney and the first casualty of the Group of Death. They did, but so much of this match was bizarre. Denmark looked more reserved — maybe it’s because the Portuguese back line is much, much better than the Dutch. It’s one of those Portuguese defenders who opened up the scoring, as Pepe put in a beautiful near-post header that had only one angle to go in from and had so much power it went past the keeper — never mind that Danish captain Daniel Agger forgot to mark him. Portugal then had a striker score (!!!), as Helder Postiga gave them a second off a lovely Nani assist, but the Danes climbed back with a header from that Great Danish Ego, Nicklas Bendtner, who was served beautifully by Michael Krohn-Dehli.
The scoring chances in the second half were Portuguese ones, and fell at the feet of their captain, Cristiano Ronaldo. Do we have to talk about a crisis of confidence for Ronaldo? He botched two one-on-one chances with the keeper that he would have buried in a Real Madrid shirt, the second most egregiously, as all he really had to do was chip it — Stephan Anderson had already committed. The worst part of the second sitter missed is that Ronaldo didn’t track back on defense, which then led to the immediate leveling of the score thanks to another Bendtner header.
But substitute Silvestre Varela bailed the team out, looking off Ronaldo on the other side of the pitch and burying a rocket in the lower right corner of the net past Anderson for the 3-2 win. If the Dutch beat the Germans in the upcoming match, we have everyone on three points in the Group of Death, and in that case, we’re really all winners since the final day in the group would be a hum-dinger.