Nicolas Bendtner

VIDEO: Altidore puts US 1-0 up over Denmark against run of play

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The game began incredibly sloppy for both sides, with the United States guilty of the most egregious giveaways, but they were the most lethal as well.

Just moments after a horrible Timmy Chandler mistake nearly cost the US at the back, the 24-year-old right-back weaved his way up the touchline and delivered a long, searching ball to Jozy Altidore who was double-teamed by Simon Kjaer and Daniel Wass at the opposite end of the box.

As Jozy has done so many times for the national team – in spite of whatever his club form happens to be – he followed the bounce of the ball perfectly and rifled it home on the volley from a tight angle. It looked to have taken a slight deflection off Kjaer on its way in, fooling goalkeeper Stephan Anderson who looked like he should have done better.

Denmark has since – deservedly – leveled on a tap-in goal from Nicklas Bendtner, who was left completely unmarked in the box with Chandler losing his man on the back side.

USMNT Friendly Preview: Denmark

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  • The series is somewhat even, with US winning once, drawing three, and losing twice
  • Denmark is one of the few European sides not to be scheduled a Euro qualifier this window
  • Clint Dempsey is injured and unavailable for the match, having picked up a hamstring knock

The United States begins the March international window with a road friendly in Aarhus Wednesday, and it’s safe to say the road to the 2018 World Cup begins now.

[ MORE: How might they line up? ]

Jurgen Klinsmann traversed his way through the post Brazil friendlies like just that, and we saw more of the regulars than maybe we expected. Here, in Denmark, Klinsmann shook things up with his roster, and we’re likely to get a good look at some of the fringe players who could be options come 2018.


With the Danes clustered into Euro 2016 qualifying Group I – the only group with five countries instead of six – they don’t have a qualifier scheduled for this window. Instead, they’ll play a pair of friendlies against the US and France.

While they aren’t gearing up for an immediate impactful match, coach Martin Olsen is still likely to deploy a very strong lineup. With their five-team Euro qualifying group, there’s little room for error. Denmark sits atop the group, but just a point ahead of Portugal who bested them in Copenhagen back in October. Their group is in even further disarray considering Serbia and Albania are appealing the result of their match that was halted by fan violence. Depending on who (if anyone) collects the three points from that match, Denmark could be even at the top with Albania or looking to fend off three other countries just below them. It’s a chaotic group.

As a result, they’ll look to get their first-team in good form with such a gap in qualifying matches (they go from November to June without one). Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen is the star, and he will provide a stiff test for the US midfield and back line. There are few other household names on their roster, but some may recognize Nicolas Bendtner from his Arsenal days. Now at Wolfsburg, the striker is second fiddle to Europe’s most in-form striker Bas Dost, but still has collected his fair share of goals given his limited playing time. Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel – son of the legendary Peter Schmeichel – is the starter in goal and is in form with his club despite their position in the table.

United States

The US comes into this game looking for plenty of answers. There are fresh faces on the roster who will look to make an impact should they receive the chance to do so. Cody Cropper, Ventura Alvarado, and William Yarbrough will be looking to become recognizable names.

There are also a host of players who didn’t make the World Cup roster having just burst onto the scene, but could stamp their name into Jurgen Klinsmann’s regular list. Gyasi Zardes is hoping for a true opportunity to translate his solid MLS form into the national team spotlight. Tim Ream, Danny Williams, Rubio Rubin, and Brek Shea have all been in the national team picture in the past but, for a myriad of reasons, haven’t burst through the brick wall to become a regular just yet.

There’s the curious case of Julian Green, who needs a good showing not only for his own confidence having been frozen out of the Hamburg side for the duration of his loan spell, but also to prove to the world that Hamburg is making the mistake and not Green. It will be interesting to see if he gets significant playing time, just a sniff of the pitch, or nothing at all.

Finally, despite Dempsey’s injury, there are still familiar faces hoping to be the focal point of the transition between World Cup cycles. Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson (who hasn’t featured since the World Cup due to injury), and Nick Rimando are all in that mix.

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power erects David Moyes statue…at Anfield

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There’s kicking someone when they’re down, and then there’s doing it for no good reason.

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, known for their often humorous antics, took an unfunny swing at sacked Manchester United manager David Moyes by erecting a statue of the Scotsman with a pained look on his face outside Anfield.

The stunt, which pokes fun at another man losing his job, does little more than appear as a cry for attention during the run-up to Liverpool’s match with Chelsea.

It comes at the expense of a man who gave Old Trafford his all for nine months despite ultimately not making a good fit.

In addition to kicking at a down Manchester United side who have had by far the most Premier League success of any English side, the stunt serves to diminish Liverpool’s scorching run to the top of the league table, seeming to point to United’s sudden fall as the reason the Reds are atop the league table.

The base of the statue reads “David Moyes. For services to Liverpool Football Club.”

Paddy Power have never been ones to back down from controversial stunts.  In the past they’ve offered odds on touchy subjects such as the first species to go extinct due to the BP oil spill, the result of Oscar Pistorious’s murder trial, and the assassination of Barack Obama.

Arsenal striker Nicolas Bendtner was fined €100,000 ($138,000) when, during a Euro 2012 match between Denmark and Portugal, the Danish striker celebrated a goal by pulling down his pants to reveal Paddy Power underwear.  The bookmaker paid his fine and began to sell replica underpants.

They’ve also run controversial advertising campaigns in the past, including one prior to last year’s Champions League final with a…well…pretty obvious sexual connotation.