Porto star Hulk scored twice and set up another to lead Brazil to a 3-1 victory over Denmark in a pre-Euro friendly match in Hamburg, leaving manager Morten Olsen with a lot to think about ahead of the tournament.
It may be harsh judging the Danes on a friendly match against Brazil over two weeks before the tournament has begun, but looking at the challenge ahead and their ‘Group of Death’ encounter with Germany, Holland and Portugal, it’s not that harsh. Against such formidable teams and the likes of Ronaldo, Van Persie and Schweinsteiger to name a few, they will have to be clinical with their chances and above all have a solid defence.
But today it took the young Brazilian side, containing the majority of the expected Olympic squad, only eight minutes to break the dead lock with Hulk winning possession in the midfield and firing a low hard shot towards goal from 30 yards. It dipped awkwardly in front of keeper Thomas Sorenson, causing him to misjudge the shot and slide under him to hit the back of the net.
Only five minutes later Brazil managed to add another when Christian Poulsen was dispossessed in his own half, leaving Oscar to speed down the right wing and into the box sending in a drilled cross looking for Hulk, but instead deflecting off defender Niki Zimling into his own goal.
Morten Olsen later introduced Thomas Kahlenberg, which briefly helped the Danish side to regroup adding some flair and support for lone striker Nicklas Bendtner. But despite Brazil dropping their intensity just before half time, another mistake, this time from Daniel Agger allowed Oscar to rob him of the ball and Hulk to skip pass the last defender and fire home past Sorenson for his second goal.
Denmark could have scored seconds after the break with a brilliantly worked move around the box, allowing Simon Was to cross into Agger, but he somehow missed a few yards in front of goal.
The Danes were building the pressure and with under 20 minutes to go Zimling made amends for his own goal with a darting run down the left wing leaving three defenders behind him, setting up Bendtner for a simple tap in. Replays showed he was clearly offside but the goal still stood (a state of affairs which doesn’t fill any football fan with confidence coming up to a major international tournament, where such errors in judgment could mean everything).
Denmark showed spirit, determination and some moments of class, but they will have to be far more organised to have any hope of escaping the group stages.