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Denmark vs Portugal Preview

October 10, 2011 By Tom Kundert
Portugal and Denmark go head to head in the final Euro 2012 Group H qualification match tomorrow to decide who will top the group and qualify automatically for the tournament next summer.
It’s all set up for a tense night in Copenhagen. After both nations began the campaign with some disappointing results, Portugal go into the match on the back of five straight wins in the section, while Denmark have an almost as impressive record of four victories and one draw in their last five Group H games.

Other significant statistics show that Portugal have the most productive attack in group, scoring 20 times, while the Danes have the meanest defence, conceding just five goals in seven games.

By coincidence, the two countries were also fierce rivals in World Cup 2010 qualification, with Denmark getting the better of Portugal on that occasion, winning in Lisbon and drawing at home to finish top of the section and force the Selecção to qualify via the playoffs.

Suggestions that a contrived draw, which would likely see both teams through automatically, have been quickly shot down by the respective coaches and players, all of whom insist that victory is the only thing on their minds.

The corresponding fixture one year ago was Paulo Bento’s first match in charge, having succeeded Carlos Queiroz. The convincing 3-1 victory set the tone for an almost faultless first year at the helm for the former Sporting coach, both in terms of results and performances. Ronaldo and Nani did the damage that night, and Bento’s ability to get Ronaldo producing his best football on a regular basis for the Selecção has been a major factor behind a highly successful twelve months in the dugout.

But roared on by a full house in Copenhagen, Denmark will provide Portugal with their sternest test yet under Bento. The hosts go into the match with confidence flying high after destroying Cyprus with four goals in the first 22 minutes on Friday. Goalscorers Dennis Rommedahl (two), Lars Jacobsen and Michael Krohn-Dehli would no doubt have greedily lapped up reruns of the all too evident defensive lapses shown by Portugal in conceding three goals at home to Iceland on Friday.

Portugal’s back line is severely depleted given the injuries to Fábio Coentrão, Pepe and Sílvio, and the effect of the absentees was there for all to see as. The threesome remain unfit for the game at the Parken Stadium. May the fireworks begin.

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