Euro 2012 Scores: Handicapping Denmark's Chances After Loss to Portugal

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Euro 2012 Scores: Handicapping Denmark's Chances After Loss to Portugal
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Denmark, one of the Cinderella teams of Euro 2012 thus far, faces an uphill battle to emerge out of the group stage after losing to Portugal on Wednesday, but that doesn't mean the Danes are down and out.

Denmark, after upsetting the Netherlands on Saturday, fell to Portugal on Wednesday, 3-2, and now must face Germany. The Danes now have as many points (three) as Portugal in Group B and may have to defeat Germany on Sunday to advance. Portugal faces Netherlands next, and the Dutch haven't looked good in the early goings of the tournament.

Germany beat Portugal in its opening match, 1-0, and defeated the Netherlands on Wednesday, 2-1. To say striker Mario Gomez is on a roll would be an understatement: He has all three of Germany's goals thus far.

But Denmark showed the kind of resiliency against Portugal on Wednesday as it did in its victory over the Dutch. While Germany has a threat in Gomez, Denmark has threats of its own in Michael Krohn-Dehli and Nicklas Bendtner. Bendtner scored twice on Wednesday, including an equalizer in the 80th minute. It took a goal from the unlikely Silvestre Varela in the 87th minute for Portugal to pull off the victory.

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Make no mistake about it, the Danes will give the Germans a battle, win or lose. It's hard to see them winning against what has been a very strong side thus far, but that doesn't mean Denmark has no shot. We've seen stranger things happen on the pitch.

Denmark's defense will be critical against Gomez and Co. While Denmark played above expectations once again against Portugal, there were some opportunities for Cristiano Ronaldo that he curiously flubbed. The defense does need to be tighter, and goalkeeper Stephan Andersen and defender Lars Jacobsen need to play the games of their lives.

But don't count the Danes out. They've already shown that they were vastly underrated coming into Euro 2012.

 

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