Denmark 2-1 Portugal: Bendtner strike seals Euro 2012 spot as Ronaldo and co. face playoff clash
The hosts were never really troubled in Copenhagen, and wrestle top spot in Group H from Paulo Bento's men to qualify automatically for next summer's showpiece in Poland & Ukraine
By Keeghann Sinanan
Denmark recorded a comfortable 2-1 home win over Portugal in its final qualifying game to seal top spot in Group H and reach Euro 2012.
Michael Krohn-Dehli and Nicklas Bendtner struck the decisive goals for the hosts, who earn automatic entry into the tournament in Poland and Ukraine next summer, despite a superb free-kick from Cristiano Ronaldo in stoppage time.
Denmark was quick off the mark, and had a goal questionably disallowed four minutes in, when referee Nicola Rizzoli ruled that there was an infringement in the area on a set-piece opportunity that was bundled home.
However, the hosts were rewarded for their strong start in the 13th minute with a deflected effort by Krohn-Dehli. The Brondby winger let fly from just inside the area, and his effort nicked off Rolando before nestling into the back of the net.
The tempo of the game died down shortly after, with a series of sloppy passes halting the Portuguese attack on more than a few occasions. Denmark threatened mainly from set-pieces, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Martins sent efforts into the arms of Thomas Sorensen. The Stoke keeper also had to be alert to palm away a dangerous cutback from a quick free-kick as the first-half fizzled out.
Portugal had a chance 10 minutes after the restart when Nani split two Denmark defenders and squared for the unmarked Carlos Martins at the top of the box, but the Benfica man’s shot was saved by Sorensen with relative ease.
Paulo Bento’s men could not find a way past the Danish rearguard, and were made to pay for their inefficiency when the hosts grabbed a second with a well-executed move. Christian Eriksen released Dennis Rommedahl with a fantastic through-ball, and the veteran winger squared for Bendtner, who finished from inside the six-yard area.
Portugal managed to pull a goal back two minutes into injury time with an outstanding free-kick from Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid man sent a trademark 25-yard effort into the top corner, but the goal ultimately came too late for the visitors to rescue anything from the match.
Denmark finishes Group H on 19 points, while Portugal ends on 16 points, and must face a playoff to determine its Euro 2012 fate.
- Own Goal
- Penalty Missed
- Yellow Card
- Penalty Save
- Penalty Shootout Goal
- Penalty Shootout Miss
- Yellow Card / Red Card
- Red Card
- Substitution IN
- Substitution OUT
- Goal.com Rating
- Goal.com Man of the Match
- Goal.com Flop of the Match
- Top & Flop Global Ranking
- Fans' Man of the Match
- Fans' Flop of the Match