Denmark Vs. Portugal: Silvestre Varela The Hero In 3-2 Win

Portugal collapsed against Denmark and looked to be dropping points, but Silvestre Varela hit a late winner to sink the Danes.

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Denmark Vs. Portugal, Euro 2012: Final Score, Portuguese Still Alive After 3-2 Victory

No matter what happens in Wednesday's late game, the final day of Group B play is going to mean something. Portugal took a commanding lead on Denmark in their match on Wednesday evening, then proceeded to throw it away and win it right back in a matter of minutes. In what was almost certainly the most dramatic match of the tournament thus far, the Portuguese managed to snag a late 3-2 win to keep themselves alive in group play.

They got off to a brilliant start with two first half goals as Denmark struggled. Niki Zimling was forced out of the game with an injury and while Jakob Poulsen didn't make any glaring errors in the match, the drop-off in quality in Denmark's midfield was apparent throughout the match. Pepe scored the opener on a corner kick, which was followed by a Helder Postiga goal that gave Portugal a two-goal advantage after 36 minutes of play.

Denmark managed to create almost nothing in the first half, but they caught Portugal's back line napping just before the end of the half. Nicklas Bendtner, who scored against Portugal in the last meeting between the two teams, did it again in the 41st minute, hitting an empty net after Michael Krohn-Delhi redirected the ball across the box to set him up for a free header. Portugal should have gone into the half with a two-goal lead, but they gifted Denmark new life just before the break.

The first half featured a couple of missed chances by Cristiano Ronaldo, but his failings were truly the story of the second half until the very end of the match. He had one bad miss and he gave away possession on a couple of occasions in the first half, but he was truly dire in the second half. In the first five minutes of the half, he squandered a move with an errant touch and failed to make the most of another with a weak shot right at Stephan Andersen.

In the 78th minute, he managed to pull off one of the worst misses of his career. Nani put him through one-on-one with Andersen, but Ronaldo somehow managed to push his shot wide of the post. It was the perfect exclamation point on what felt like his worst performance since he was a teenager, but it would get worse two minutes later.

Not only was Ronaldo missing clear chances on the attacking end, but he also failed to track Denmark right back Lars Jacobsen throughout the match. Portugal paid for failing to account for him in the 80th minute when the Danes pulled off an impressive equalizer. Jacobsen set it up with a brilliant cross to the back post, and Bendtner rose up to nod the ball past Rui Patricio, making it 2-2 with his second of the game.

It appeared as if Denmark was going to escape with a draw from a match in which they were downright poor, but a substitute spoiled their day in the 87th minute. Just two minutes after he replaced Raul Meireles, Varela became a hero for Portugal with a game-winning goal. Fabio Coentrao set him up with a great cross into the box, and comically, Varela completely missed the ball on his first attempt. He spun around like a top, only to find that the ball bounced right to him for a second attempt. He made the most of his lucky second chance, hitting a powerful shot past Andersen at the near post from 10 yards to earn all three points for his team.

Portugal and Denmark don't yet know what they have to do against the Netherlands to go through to the next round, but it's possible that both of them could only need a draw to progress.

We'll have live coverage of the game in our Denmark vs. Portugal, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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Denmark Vs. Portugal, Euro 2012: Halftime Score, Portuguese Lead Thriller 2-1

Update: Denmark 2-3 Portugal, Final Score

Denmark and Portugal have conspired to provide plenty of entertainment for neutral fans on Wednesday afternoon, though the fans of both teams have likely bitten off their nails by now. Portugal got off to a brilliant start and took a 2-0 lead against a poor-looking Danish side, but Denmark fought back and found a goal to make it 2-1 before halftime.

Though midfield errors didn't directly lead to either of Portugal's goals, the Danes were almost certainly negatively affected by an injury to Niki Zimling, who was brilliant against the Netherlands. He appeared to suffer an ankle injury and came out for Jakob Poulsen in the 16th minute.

Portugal had a big chance just two minutes later, but Cristiano Ronaldo failed to capitalize. Raul Meireles set him up inadvertently with a shot that was blocked. Unluckily for Denmark, the ball fell right into the path of Ronaldo, who had an excellent shooting lane. Everyone in the stadium expected him to put a shot on target, but he missed wide when it would have been easier to test Stephan Andersen.

Ronaldo's team made up for that miss with a goal six minutes later, brilliantly turned in by Pepe. Joao Moutinho set it up with an in-swinging corner kick to the near post, which found the head of Pepe. The central defender made a great run and applied a stellar glancing header, past Andersen at the near post.

They doubled their lead in the 36th minute, through Helder Postiga and some poor defending. Simon Kjaer had an uncharacteristically dominant game in defense for Denmark against Holland, but appeared to be back to his old self as he lost Postiga at the near post. Nani slipped a pass into his feet and the Portugal striker hit a quality finish into the roof of the net, putting his team up 2-0.

Denmark were looking a bit lifeless up until that point, and there was no reason to believe that they would fight their way back into the match before halftime, but they created a great goal out of nowhere. Nicklas Bendtner, who has been a thorn in Portugal's side over the years, scored against them once again with an uncontested header. The goal was set up with a ball whipped into the back post towards Michael Krohn-Delhi, who nodded the ball back across the face of goal instead of attempting to score himself. That confused Rui Patricio and the defense, who left Bendtner free and with an empty net.

The Danes have not been good outside of the last five minutes of the half, but their performance during that period has them involved in the game. They just need one goal to get themselves back into a position to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament, and they're two goals away from getting through and eliminating Portugal before the last round of group play.

We'll have live coverage of the game in our Denmark vs. Portugal, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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Denmark Vs. Portugal, Euro 2012: Match Underway

Denmark and Portugal have kicked off from Lviv, and the Portuguese are looking lively. It would have been a bit concerning if they weren't, since they'll be eliminated from the tournament with a loss in this match. Of course, if Denmark's game against Portugal is any indication, possession won't mean much here. Portugal could have a lot of the ball in Denmark's half while the Danes feel in control.

On Denmark's end of the pitch, it's worth keeping an eye on the flanks. Not only is Cristiano Ronaldo playing out wide, but Nani is a much bigger attacking threat than Helder Postiga or any midfielder as well. Denmark's fullbacks are not world class defensive players and will need to have great games.

Going the other way, Christian Eriksen is the man to watch. Portugal don't have the same sort of tenacity and technical tackling skill as the Netherlands' defensive midfielders, so Eriksen should see a lot more of the ball in this game than he did in Denmark's opener.

We'll have live coverage of the game in our Denmark vs. Portugal, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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Denmark Vs. Portugal, Euro 2012: Lineups

Denmark pulled off an impressive upset win over the Netherlands in their Euro 2012 opener, while Portugal looked respectable in defeat against the favored Germans. Because both teams played fairly well in their first matches and because both teams lack depth, they haven't altered their lineups at all for their clash against each other.

Denmark Lineup (4-2-3-1): Stephan Andersen; Simon Poulsen, Daniel Agger, Simon Kjaer, Lars Jacobsen; Niki Zimling, William Kvist; Michael Krohn-Delhi, Christian Eriksen, Dennis Rommedahl; Nicklas Bendtner

Portugal Lineup (4-3-3): Rui Patricio; Fabio Coentrao, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Joao Pereira; Miguel Veloso, Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles; Cristiano Ronaldo, Helder Postiga, Nani

Both teams are going to expect a lot more from their key attackers on Wednesday. Christian Eriksen and Cristiano Ronaldo both put in average performances in their opening games, and both should see a lot more of the ball in this encounter. Kickoff is at 12 p.m. ET and you can catch the game on ESPN in the United States.

We'll have live coverage of the game in our Denmark vs. Portugal, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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