Denmark v Portugal preview
Portugal take on a familiar foe in Denmark on Wednesday knowing a win is vital if they are to keep their Group B hopes alive.
Last Updated: 13/06/12 7:53am
After finishing behind them in qualifying for Euro 2012, Portugal take on a familiar foe in Denmark on Wednesday knowing a win is vital if they are to keep their Group B hopes alive.
Morten Olsen's men arguably produced the shock of the tournament so far when they defeated 2010 World Cup finalists the Netherlands 1-0 on Saturday to go top of the table.
Germany's subsequent 1-0 won over Portugal sent them level with the Danes at the summit and piled the pressure on Paulo Bento's men, who know there is no margin for error in this year's 'group of death'.
Defeat to Denmark in Lviv would all but eliminate Portugal from the competition with a game to spare.
"The Germany defeat has left us in a difficult situation but we have been here before," said a defiant Bento, who replaced Carlos Queiroz two games into Euro 2012 qualifying.
"We've only won one of the last four games against Denmark but we don't dwell on past games.
"This is another time, with different preparations and in different circumstances. Tomorrow we will face very strong opponents and we will have to play our own game from the start. Denmark are in a more comfortable position and are strong on the counterattacks so we need to be aware.
"I continue to think we can get through to the quarter-finals. We lacked a greater capacity in the final third of the pitch against Germany, particularly in the first half but our strategy remains to be strong all round, not to rely on counterattacking."
Speaking of Denmark's win over the Netherlands, Bento added: "It didn't surprise me. They have great organisation and really sought to starve the Netherlands of space. The Dutch missed chances but Denmark had one and took theirs.
"There are no favourites tomorrow. Of course, Denmark are better placed but we'll give 100% and, having beaten them before, we know we can beat them again."
Denmark meanwhile have every reason to be confident going into this fixture against increasingly familiar opponents.
Not only did they finish above them in Euro 2012 qualifying but also in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, winning two and drawing one of their four meetings.
Striker Nicklas Bendtner has yet to lose when playing against Portugal and has scored all three of his competitive games against them as well as in a 4-2 friendly victory.
However, he is quick to play down his side's chances, despite his recent goalscoring exploits.
"When you name all those things [statistics] then yes, you could say that [we are favourites]. But when you look at their players, they are all at top clubs and have shown their talent over the years," said Bendtner, who is set to win his 50th international cap on Wednesday.
"We're building a new team at the moment but we stand united and have great players of our own - as we showed against Netherlands.
"Portugal may have better players but which is the greater side we will have to wait and see. I think you rarely see a team like ours, always ready to make that extra run for your team-mate - no matter who the opponent is."
Speaking of reaching 50 international caps, Bendtner added: "I'm so proud.
"It means a lot to me to represent my country, and though I have done it for so many matches, it still feels the same as it did on my debut."
Denmark could recall Michael Silberbauer, who successfully man marked Cristiano Ronaldo in their home win in qualifying. Simon Poulsen would be the player most likely to make way.
Portugal may opt to change their frontline after Helder Postiga struggled to make an impact against Germany on Saturday.
Hugo Almeida or Nelson Oliveira - who has yet to start an international match - are Bento's main options.
Besiktas winger Ricardo Quaresma is available again after he missed Saturday's match with a leg muscle strain.