Analysis: Lessons from Denmark 2-3 Portugal

Whether you're stuck without a telly or you're following the fallout on a second screen, follow FourFourTwo's Twitter commentary during the match for illuminating analysis using the completely free Stats Zone app, fired by Opta statistics updated live during the game.

Some things we noticed during Denmark v Portugal last night:

On 37 minutes we showed that Portugal had scored with their only two shots on target. (As it happens, that stayed true until half-time.)

Perhaps counter-intuitively, Denmark completed twice as many first-half passes as Portugal. As you can see from the red arrows (incomplete passes), Portugal's gameplan seemed to be feeding their wingers Ronaldo and Nani – but they had little joy with their attempted long passes to set the pair in behind the Dasnish full-backs.

As @TotalFootballFC (Stats Zone app creator Colm McMullan) noted, Portugal were struggling to feed Ronaldo, who only received nine (completed) passes and not uncoincidentally had little effect at the sharp end.

As well as updating live, Stats Zone lets you choose (and compare) stats from any period during the game. After the first 15 minutes of the second half it seemed Denmark were still outpassing Portugal – and the app backed that up.

Stats Zone is excellent for solving arguments – like when we were asked how well Ronaldo's passing was holding up compared to other players. Although you can't share it as a screen, under the heading 'Top Players' Stats Zone lists in merit order for various categories: shots, passes,  attacking-third passes, chances created, take-ons (dribbles), tackles, interceptions, blocks, clearances, aerial duels, and fouls committed and suffered. At the time, 20 players had completed more passes than C-Ron. By the end, 10 Danes and six team-mates had outpassed the Madrid man. Sorry, Ronnie.

Indeed, his woes are summed up by a quick comparison with Nicklas Bendtner, who scored two to continue his remarkable run against the Portuguese.

After Bendtner's 80th-minute equaliser, Paulo Bento took a calculated but necessary risk by replacing Raul Meireles with Silvestre Varela. The game plan remained the same – hit early balls into the area behind the full-backs, as shown by the passes Varela received. Brilliantly for Bento, Varela also bagged the winner for a slightly lucky but certainly interesting Portugal side.

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