Portugal 3-2 Denmark: No tracking from Ronaldo and Rommedahl means goals come from that flank


“Silvestre Varela grabbed a late winner as Portugal registered their first win of Euro 2012. Paulo Bento named an unchanged side from the team that lost to Germany – Helder Postiga continued upfront, despite Nelson Oliveira’s positive impact from the bench in the opening game. Morten Olsen also made no changes from Denmark’s surprise 1-0 win over Holland. Think of Portugal and Denmark – not just the current sides, but their style over the course of the century so far – and you think of width. That was the main story here, with little happening in the centre of midfield, and all the attacking thrust coming from the flanks.” Zonal Marking

Ronaldo struggles, but Portugal wins
“In this, the Group of Death, Portugal avoided a premature discovery of the afterlife. Unheralded substitute Silvestre Varela’s late goal earned them a 3-2 victory against a resilient Denmark. The game was an enormously entertaining affair, not least because of the fascinating clash of styles it presented as the wet, hair-gel look of Portugal, all ‘Night At The Roxbury,’ was pitched against Denmark’s Motorhead full-arm sleeve tattoos.” ESPN (Video)

Three thoughts: Portugal’s victory showcases great aerial play at Euro
“Three thoughts after Portugal’s 3-2 victory over Denmark in Lviv, Ukraine. 1. Heading is the new shooting. Portugal’s Pepe and Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner both scored on headers in Wednesday’s Group B match, raising the total to 12 headed goals — out of 30 — at Euro 2012. It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence. At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the quality of crossing was noticeably poor. Players blamed everything from the Jabulani ball to the high altitude in certain stadiums. Whatever the problem was, it seems to have been solved. Aerial assists from dead-ball situations and open play are markedly improved in this tournament, passes that gives forwards (and plenty of defenders, too) the opportunity to calculate flight paths and attack the ball accordingly. Are fullbacks attacking too much to defend properly? Or is the new Tango 2012 ball simply more stable? We certainly haven’t heard the usual complaints from goalkeepers yet.” SI

Euro 2012: Denmark v Portugal – as it happened
“Good afternoon everybody. If only there was some over-used, catchy but not entirely accurate phrase to describe the one group in a major football tournament in which four apparently strong teams with no obvious whipping boys were drawn together, then it could almost certainly be applied to Group B in Euro 2012. After the first round of games in The Group Of Four Apparently Strong Teams With No Obvious Whipping Boys, Germany and Denmark are cock-a-hoop with one win each, while Portugal and Holland have been forced to lick their wounds, regroup and set about playing catch-up.” Guardian

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