Group B action resumes Wednesday as Portugal takes on the surprising Danes, fresh off a stunning upset of the Netherlands. Portugal matched Germany for the most part in their opening fixture, and were likely deserving of a better result than a 1-0 loss. Against a now confident team from Denmark, Portugal will need to be more clinical in their finishing if they’re to have any hopes of advancing past the group stages.
Though many pundits pegged Denmark to be far and away the last-place team of Group B, their stunning upset of the Netherlands in their opening fixture gained the attention of everyone. The Danes are certainly a capable side, ranked tenth in the world, and if they can produce another victory against the Portuguese, the tournament’s long-shot at 80/1 odds could certainly embark on a magical run.
Portugal meanwhile knew advancement out of Group B would be difficult given the presence of both the Dutch and German powerhouses. However, Netherlands losing in the first match helps their cause if they can get a result against the Danes. Portugal were stellar against Germany, hitting posts and crossbars on multiple occasions, while matching the pre-tournament favourites for the duration of the match. If they play in a similar fashion against an inferior Danish side, the Portuguese should feel comfortable about their game.
Portugal vs Denmark Betting Odds:
Portugal (+100) / Draw (+250) / Denmark (+320)
Over 2 (-140) / Under 2 (+120)
Match Analysis & Pick:
Though Portugal did secure somewhat of a moral victory in their opening defeat to the Germans, the squad knows this is a must-win game for progression to be realized. They will take solace in the fact that they were frequently effective on their counter-attacks versus Germany, and should be able to bury more chances against a Danish team that has proven to be mistake-prone at the back.
Denmark’s opening victory was certainly impressive, however those heralding it as a supreme display of defensive ability are simply mistaken. The Danes merely got the lead off a shocking play, and spent the remainder of the match sitting back allowing the Dutch chance after chance to try and find an equalizer. The Dutch strikers were in poor form, squandering a staggering amount of opportunities. If Denmark employs a similar strategy against one of the world’s greatest players in Cristiano Ronaldo, the good feelings around the Danish camp could quickly dissipate.
Expect the Danes to play this game very conservatively. The three points they obtained against the Dutch sets them up quite well, while the Portuguese know they absolutely must win this fixture. Denmark will put nearly all their players behind the ball when Portugal is on the attack in an attempt to secure a draw. However, defense isn’t exactly a strength of the Danes. They are fluid, and creative on the attack, and focusing their efforts on defense could spell disaster against a hungry Portuguese side looking for goals. Denmark is often at their best when they’re using their attacking quality, and adopting an unfamiliar strategy predicated on defending may disturb their rhythm.
Though the Danes will be entering with supreme confidence as they finished above Portugal in the same qualifying group, playing on the grand stage of Euro 2012 is a different feeling altogether. Portugal have an experienced side, with a wealth of big-game players who will seize the opportunity against Denmark. Expect winger Ricardo Quaresma to draw back into the line-up for Portugal, offering great width and playmaking ability from the flanks.
In their opening match, the Danes were fortunate to escape with a full three points. Against a motivated Portuguese side that deserved a better fate against Germany, don’t expect Denmark to be as lucky. Look for Portugal to control the ball for the duration of the match, eventually breaking down the Danish defensive scheme. Portugal are a proud soccer nation, and look for their urgency to propel them to a convincing victory on Wednesday.
PICK: Portugal To Win (+100)