Portugal beat Denmark 3-2 in a thriller clash

Portugal beat Denmark 3-2 in a thriller clash

LVIV, Ukraine — Portugal beat Denmark 3-2 in a thrilling Euro 2012 clash, with a last-gasp winner to resurrect their hopes of reaching the competition’s knock-out stages on Wednesday.

By (AFP)

Published: Fri 15 Jun 2012, 12:49 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 2:20 AM

Substitute Silvestre Varela blasted home three minutes from time to give the beaten Euro 2004 finalists the points after they had let a 2-0 lead slip to a battling Danish side.

Real Madrid defender Pepe opened the Selecao’s account with a header from a corner at Stephan Andersen’s right-hand near-post, while Helder Postiga made it two with a deft flick on the opposite side.

Nicklas Bendtner got Morten Olsen’s Danes back on terms and the Scandinavians looked set for a hard-fought point after a series of glaring misses by Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The win puts Portugal level on three points with Denmark. Germany, also on three points, take on the Netherlands, who are bottom with no points, later on Wednesday.

Joachim Loew’s Mannschaft go in to the match in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on a high after beating Portugal while the Oranje, who suffered a shock 1-0 reverse to Denmark, face an uphill battle.

Dutch captain Mark van Bommel said all the players were aware of the importance of the crunch tie — and their final group match against Portugal — if they hope to progress in the competition.

“We have to win (the remaining two games). We have no other choice,” he said before the match, although the Portugal result now means they don’t have to do that to progress.

The Dutch misfired badly against the Danes on Saturday. But hopes of greater accuracy against one of the pre-tournament favourites have been hit by apparent disquiet in the squad.

Last season’s top scorer in the Bundesliga, Schalke 04’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, in particular is unhappy with coach Bert van Marwijk for preferring Robin van Persie of Arsenal up front.

Dutch players have rejected suggestions of a rift but Huntelaar was pointedly the only player not to give pre-match interviews to the domestic media on Monday.

Loew is aware that his side will be feeling less pressure than the Dutch, despite the intense rivalry that comes with every sporting encounter between the two nations.

“Clearly, the challenge is huge for the Netherlands. When you’ve lost the first game, you can no longer afford another defeat,” he said.

UEFA announced meanwhile that Poland and Russia were facing potential sanctions after fans let off and threw fireworks at the National Stadium during Tuesday’s 1-1 draw.

Russia were also pulled up for allowing one supporter on the pitch and displaying a far-right banner.

The announcement was the second blow for the Russian football federation, after UEFA separately threatened to dock six points from their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign if their fans misbehave again.

Fans also set off and threw fireworks and displayed potentially offensive nationalist flags during their 4-1 opening win against the Czech Republic last Friday.

The head of the Football Union of Russia (RF), Sergei Fursenko, was quoted as saying they would appeal the decision but called the situation “very disappointing”.

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