Ok, so I got it wrong with which team wouldn't show a pulse. You can't win them all.
While the scoreline would suggest a classic, and it was a good match, I don't know that Portugal-Denmark lived up to what the 3-2 final tally would suggest. There were some great goals and some great action, and certainly as dramatic as we've seen. Just not sure about the quality though.Of course, I motherfucked Helder Postiga right across the wire, didn't I?
Scoring three goals, or at least threatening it, should be the norm for Portugal. I think it's an apt metaphor that the winner came directly after a complete whiff from Valera. Capable of brilliance, capable brilliant failure, all within three seconds of each other. It's Portugal! Still, a great finish, and really puts this group poised to have some fireworks on Sunday. And who doesn't want to see the Danes beat the Germans by open lengths to make it a real show, no matter how unlikely it would be?
Boy, Kjaer had himself a match, didn't he? Standing off Postiga and Valera for the last two Portugese goals. And then there's Niklas Bendtner. While I've spent considerable time making fun of strikers of various teams, I left off the Arsenal-Sunderland-Arsenal again man. He suffers from Ibrahimovic Disease, where he thinks he's about four times as good as he actually is. But whereas Ibra is actually pretty good, just not the all-time best, I'm pretty sure Benders is pants. Except when he plays Portugal. Then again, it helps when the entire Portugese backline falls asleep for his first, giving him a good five yards to head into an open net. But hey, credit where credit is due. He found space and a powerful header for his second, and then actually showed us his pants. I guess that's another apt metaphor.
I don't know what goes on with Ronaldo in a Portugal shirt. Honestly, I think it means so much to him to do the business for his country, and he just overcooks it. This used to be a problem for him in any big match, but we thought he'd left it behind after scoring in the Nou Camp this year as well as netting the winner in the Spanish Cup Final last year. But not at this level, at least not yet. He had two chances he would have arrogantly slotted home with Madrid, but today he panicked and rushed both of them. And yet Portugal still found two goals.
They still have issues. They lost Bendtner and Gomez now for three headers against, which is exactly what is supposed to be Alves's and Pepe's strength. Or so you'd think. Denmark was given too much freedom to battle back from 2-0 down. Luckily, they get the Dutch next.
The Dutch. Where to start? They've looked miserable since they turned up and have played like it. They had two defensive midfielders out there who then contrived to give Schweinsteiger his own private island to pick out Gomez twice for chances even he easily buried (I've seen him try that drag-back to open up at least 86 times the past couple months, and it finally worked today). If that wasn't enough, their keeper when snorting for truffles instead of stopping Gomez's second strike. They have a left-back totally over his head, and a midfield and central defense with no interest in helping him. Arjen Robben, when he isn't arguing with his coach from the field, is killing every move.
Once again, the Dutch are pulling in multitudes of directions except the one they should be. But it's their way, isn't it?
As for the Germans, they definitely turned off there for the 2nd half and even let this shambles of a Clockwork Orange squad nearly get back into it. But when they had to assuredly see out the match, they did. And they assuredly put themselves ahead when the Dutch were asking them to.
They haven't wowed, but they look supremely confident. It's dispiriting.