Cristiano Ronaldo scored another goal for the long, long career highlight film, but Portugal failed miserably in Denmark. Paulo Bento’s side looked under prepared and just not up to the task against a lesser side in Copenhagen, but Denmark and Morten Olsen proved once again that flair and impressive names don’t mean nothing without substance, spirit and effort.
People speak about Messi not being able to carry Argentina on his back? Ronaldo, despite a much better qualifying campaign this time around couldn’t get the group’s first place. Stop blaming the stars. Ronaldo, incredible as he is, doesn’t have the Real Madrid entourage with him playing for the national side. Despite Nani, Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles and others, Portugal were simply inferior to a combative Danish team.
It’s playoff again for Portugal, like before the 2010 World Cup, two years ago. Team effort can’t be replaced by wonder goals and perfect free kicks like the one Ronaldo scored today. The way Denmark defended, the way everyone played for each other, kamikazing on every ball and simply determined to stop Nani and Ronaldo from creating havoc and magic on the wings.
Don’t get me wrong, talent wins, but only if it comes with cohesion and teamwork. Watching Dennis Rommedhal burn the flank at his advanced age, the wisdom of Eriksen at such a young age and Bendtner being everything he couldn’t be for Arsenal warmed my heart. Watching Portugal fail, with their individualistic style, arrogance and failing trickery? Warmed my heart as well.