Denmark vs. Portugal Euro 2012: 8 Things We Learned from Group of Death Showdown
Denmark and Portugal played the most exciting game of the tournament so far with the Portuguese coming out the 3-2 winner.
The result leaves three sides in the group with three points, with the Netherlands hoping to join their opponents with a win over Germany in their game.
From Cristiano Ronaldo to Nicklas Bendtner, here are eight things we learned from this "Group of Death" showdown.
Denmark Is for Real
If anyone was surprised by Denmark's win over the Netherlands, they should look at the team's performance in this game to see how good they are.
The Danes were unfortunate to lose the game as they played some good football throughout and came from two goals down to equalize.
The fact that they did that while losing two key starters shows the talent that lies within this squad.
Denmark faces Germany in its last group game of the tournament, and right now folks should not write them off. Well, except for the reason on the next slide.
Injuries Could Cost Denmark a Spot in Quarterfinals
Denmark received two big blows in their game with injuries to key starters Dennis Rommedahl and Niki Zimling.
Both seemed to have muscular related injuries, which could very well signal the end of their participation in the tournament.
Their replacements, Jakub Poulsen and Tobias Mikkelsen, did well against Portugal, but the question is whether or not they are ready to step up against the Germans.
If Germany beats the Netherlands then Denmark could face a second-string side, but a tie or loss would see them facing the usual strong lineup.
It would be very tough for the Danes to face Germany without these two players.
Nicklas Bendtner Loves to Play Portugal
With his two strikes against Portugal today, Nicklas Bendtner's career statistics against the Iberian side look like this: six goals in five games. The Arsenal forward now has 20 goals in 50 appearances for his country overall.
Unfortunately for him, his team was not able to hold on for the point, but they are still very much in the running to get out of the group stage.
Christian Eriksen Still Needs Time
Christian Eriksen is one of the bright young talents in this competition, but he is playing second fiddle to Russia's Alan Dzagoev at the moment.
He is only 20 years old, though, and fans will have to give him time to become the dominant playmaker Denmark could use in games like this.
Cristiano Ronaldo Still Can't Deliver for Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo missed two big chances to give Portugal some breathing room in this game, and that will raise some question marks about his mentality on the international level.
The fact that Portugal is not even in the knockout stages yet, where the pressure is magnified, should worry any Portugal supporter.
Ronaldo seemed very anxious in two situations where he should have easily scored, as he wasn't under too much pressure and was one-on-one with the keeper both times.
As the captain and the team's talisman, Ronaldo really needs to step up his game for his team to have any luck.
Portugal Are Not a One-Man Team
Cristiano Ronaldo's teammates spared him from some criticism with their performances in this game.
Players like Nani, Pepe, Helder Postiga and Miguel Veloso stepped up for the Portuguese, but it's the substitute Varela who really stole the show.
Cristiano Ronaldo was sent through on goal twice by his teammates and failed to deliver. Though he showed frustration with Helder Postiga's inability to latch on to one or two of his through balls early on, the Portuguese forward still managed to do something Ronaldo didn't and score.
If the rest of Portugal's players can continue to play like this and Ronaldo steps up his game, Portugal will be tough to match.
Paulo Bento Was Right to Trust Postiga
Helder Postiga doubled Portugal's lead in the first half with a very clinical finish. Paulo Bento's selection of the Real Zaragoza forward has been criticized time and again, but he was justified when the forward netted his goal.
Postiga's main competition comes in the form of youngster Nelson Oliveira, who has shown some good touches in both his games but has yet to do the one thing Portugal really needs: score.
Postiga will have to keep it up as the tournament continues in order to keep his spot.
Portugal Can Beat the Netherlands
Portugal will face the Netherlands in their last game of the group stage. They will likely be playing much of their game on the counter-attack, and that will suit them just fine.
Overall, the Portuguese have the necessary tools in key areas to beat their next opponent.
If Nani and Postiga keep up their good play and Cristiano Ronaldo does what he always does, they will be a menace for the Dutch when breaking from the back.
Raul Meireles, Miguel Veloso and Joao Moutinho will be key in the middle, and they certainly have the energy and drive needed to shut down the likes of Wesley Sneijder.
In the middle, Portugal has two defenders, Pepe and Bruno Alves, who can shut down the threat of either Robin Van Persie or Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
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