Portugal v Denmark – Match Preview

Paulo Bento is aware that Portugal must take advantage of the ‘comfortable’ position Group B leaders Denmark currently find themselves as they prepare to face each other on Wednesday.

The Danes are old foes of the Portuguese having finished ahead of them in qualifying whilst arguably providing the shock of the tournament so far after beating Holland to put themselves in a commanding position in the ‘group of death

Defeat in Lviv would almost certainly leave Portugal staring down the barrel of an early elimination and Bento knows his side are under pressure to get up to speed having lost to Germany in their first match.

“The Germany defeat has left us in a difficult situation but we have been here before,” he said. “We’ve only won one of the last four games against Denmark but we don’t dwell on past games.

“This is another time, with different preparations and in different circumstances. Tomorrow we will face very strong opponents and we will have to play our own game from the start. Denmark are in a more comfortable position and are strong on the counterattacks so we need to be aware.

“I continue to think we can get through to the quarter-finals. We lacked a greater capacity in the final third of the pitch against Germany, particularly in the first half but our strategy remains to be strong all round, not to rely on counterattacking.”

Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner has yet to be on the losing side against Portugal and has scored in all three of the competitive games he’s played against them.

But the striker, who looks set to win his 50th cap for his country, is refusing to get carried away declaring that whilst Denmark currently possess a unique team they shouldn’t be considered favourites for the game.

“When you name all those things [statistics] then yes, you could say that [we are favourites],” Bendtner said. “But when you look at their players, they are all at top clubs and have shown their talent over the years.

“We’re building a new team at the moment but we stand united and have great players of our own – as we showed against Netherlands.

“Portugal may have better players but which is the greater side we will have to wait and see. I think you rarely see a team like ours, always ready to make that extra run for your team-mate – no matter who the opponent is.”

Team News

Morten Olsen have a fully fit squad to choose from going into the game and Simon Poulsen could drop for Michael Silberauer who is expected to be handed the daunting task of marking Cristiano Ronaldo.

Misfiring striker Helder Postiga looks likely to be replaced by Hugo Almeida who’s recovered from flu whilst Nelson Olivera could start after an impressive cameo against Germany. Ricardo Quaresma is still struggling with a muscle strain.

Key Players

Cristiano Ronaldo

By his standards the Portugal captain endured a quiet 90 minutes against Germany as he failed to impose himself on the game. However it would be shortsighted to rule Ronaldo out of making an impact in the tournament and inspiring his country to victory against Denmark will be top of his to-do-list.

Nicklas Bendtner

An unselfish display against Holland saw Bendtner draw criticism for not creating enough goal scoring opportunities for himself but it was his hold up play and constant pressurising of the Dutch defence that proved to be the backbone for Denmark’s victory. More of the same will be expected against Portugal on Wednesday night.

Prediction: 3-1