Two of the teams who will clash in arguably the toughest group at Euro 2012 warmed up with comfortable victories yesterday, but for one of their rivals the prospects look bleak.
Denmark made light of the challenge from Australia, beating them 2-0, and Holland thrashed an inexperienced Northern Ireland 6-0. But Portugal, who with Germany make up Group B, made it three matches without a win as they slumped to a 3-1 home defeat by Turkey and were jeered off the pitch.
Portugal were just as dominant as Denmark and Holland in terms of possession but they were plagued by poor finishing and misfortune. Even their prolific goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty. All they had to show for their build-up play was a solitary goal by Nani, Ronaldo's former team-mate at Manchester United, but by that time Umut Bulut had scored twice for Turkey.
A bad night was wrapped up with a flukey own goal in the closing minutes, Ricardo Costa's clearance rebounding into his own net off Pepe. Cue the booing.
Holland opened up a 3-0 lead inside half an hour with two goals from Robin van Persie, and Ibrahim Affelay, just back from injury, also scored twice as the Dutch became the first side to score six against Northern Ireland in 51 years.
Liverpool's Daniel Agger set Denmark on their way to victory with a penalty after 32 minutes and Andreas Bjelland added the second from a corner midway through a second half that the Australians made more of a contest. Denmark were nowhere near their best with their coach Morten Olsen saying that his players were tired after a tough week's training. Shades of England against Norway.
Euro co-hosts Poland gave their morale a similar boost by sweeping aside Andorra 4-0 in Warsaw, but Croatia had to settle for a 1-1 draw away to Norway, who snatched an injury-time equaliser through Tarik Elyounoussi. Eduardo, once of Arsenal, looked to have earned Croatia victory when he gave them the lead after 79 minutes.
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