• Forward allegedly pulled out of training after bust-up with coach
• Bento rejects criticism that Portugal played negatively
All is not well inside the Portugal camp. Paulo Bento, the Portugal coach, has seen his tactics questioned by two of his former team-mates, Luis Figo and Rui Costa, Cristiano Ronaldo's behaviour has come under the microscope after he stomped off the pitch against Germany on Saturday at the final whistle and Helder Postiga was cross-examined at Tuesday's press conference about his credentials to lead the line against Denmark on Wednesday evening.
These are testing times for Portugal, who badly need a win over Morten Olsen's side to relieve the pressure after their 1-0 defeat by Germany. It is at times like this that cracks can start to appear and Bento looked a little exasperated as he categorically denied a suggestion that Ronaldo had pulled out of training on Monday after an alleged bust-up with him. He chose his words more carefully in relation to his captain's behaviour at the end of the Germany game and the criticisms voiced by Figo and Costa, who feel Portugal need to play more positively.
"Everybody is talking about the strategy with the national squad," Bento said. "I won't say anything against Luis or Rui, they're my colleagues. But they know it's harder to do something than say something. We created more chances than Germany did but the only thing that will be remembered by history is we lost to Germany 1-0. We wanted to play counter attacks against the French in 2000 and we lost the game. We lost the first game in 2004 and still got to the finals."
Ronaldo could not get off the field quickly enough on Saturday, which appears to have gone down badly with some Portugal supporters and there were also reports that Bento was unhappy with the forward's actions. "I didn't read about that [the problem with Ronaldo at the end of the game]," Bento said. "But, if any Portuguese fan was upset with that situation, then it is my job to apologise to them, as a leader of the group. But you have to understand that not everybody shows the same reactions in these situations."
Postiga, who carried little threat against Germany and seemed to frustrate Ronaldo at times when possession was squandered too easily, is set to retain his place up front in a Portugal side that have lost three of their past five meetings against Denmark, who finished ahead of them in the qualifying campaign and are in buoyant mood on the back of Saturday's surprise 1-0 win over Holland in Kharkiv. Olsen, the Denmark coach, described Portugal as a side "under enormous pressure" as he plots what he hopes will be a second successive victory.
"If you are not taking points out of the first game you don't have the same confidence," he said. "But I saw the game and I thought the Portuguese team deserved a point. They had a bad result but I still thought they played a good game. We've got an advantage but we're not trying to play for one point against Portugal, we're playing to win."