Nicklas Bendtner might have last night restored his reputation with a brace in Denmark 2-3 defeat to Portugal, but today he is being widely criticised for not pulling his braces up during the celebrations of his second goal.
In the pandemonium that followed his 81st minute equaliser, Bendtner had the presence of mind to reveal the top part of his underwear and the name of a bookmaker, which within minutes had tweeted a picture of the striker in his “lucky underwear”.
UEFA regulations clearly ban any kind of advertising displayed by players during the finals, and the governing body, which has 12 official global partners (none of whom are bookmakers), is expected to reprimand Bendtner for his ambush marketing.
The Danish FA, DBU, might also take action, particularly as one of its main sponsors is the English bookmaker Ladbroke’s. “We have spoken to the player and he will not play in those [underpants] against Germany on Sunday,” its communications director, Lars Berendt, told Ekstra Bladet tabloid.
Bendtner maintains that the boxer shorts are lucky and that he has worn them in previous games, including the opening game against the Dutch last Saturday. “I didn't know that I was breaking any rules, but I am aware of that now,” he told the tabloid.
The equaliser was Bendtner’s sixth goal against the Portuguese in five games and capped a clinical performance by the Dane on his 50th appearance for his country. Both his goals came from well-taken headers – the BBC text commentary called him a “fox in the box”, observing (perhaps slightly inaccurately) that he had only been in the Portuguese area twice all game and scored each time.
Nevertheless, it was all in vain. Portuguese substitute Silvestre Varela scored three minutes from time to win the game and leave Denmark needing results to go their way on Sunday when they play Germany and the Portuguese play the Netherlands.
The permutations are reasonably complicated.
Group leaders Germany, on six points, will fail to qualify for the quarters should they lose and Portugal win, unless they lose by one goal in a game that finishes 2-3 or better (i.e 3-4, 4-5 etc).
The Netherlands can still advance if they beat Portugal by two clear goals and Germany defeat Denmark.
A draw will be good enough for Denmark should Portugal lose to the Netherlands.
Should all three teams beat each other to tie on three points, and the Netherlands only beat Portugal by one goal, the Portuguese will advance. For example, if the result is 1-0, the GDs will be Netherlands (1-1), Denmark (3-3) and Portugal (3-3). This would mean Portugal would qualify courtesy of their win over Denmark.
If Portugal lose 2-1, they will have a 4-4 GD compared to the Danish and Dutch respective GDs of 3-3 and 2-2.