Nicklas Bendtner returned to his best against Italy last night ... but he got booked celebrating and will miss the final game against Malta on Tuesday.
What a performance it was for Nicklas Bendtner yesterday - as he returned to the Danish national team in some style, and scored his first goals in over a year against Italy in a FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Bendtner has been out in the cold for the Danish side ever since being suspended for drink-driving in Copenhagen. And last season was one to forget - injury ravaged and goalless in Turin with Serie A champions Juventus.
So the fact his return to international football was against the Italian’s, including former team-mates Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Pirlo, there was always a little part of you that felt this was written for Bendtner to be the hero.
The hero he was, to some degree.
Pablo Osvaldo of Southampton got the ball rolling for the Italians before Bendtner scored twice, giving Denmark the lead. That result would have pushed them up onto 15 points overall, with a real chance of making the play-offs.
But Bendtner’s excitement was once again the better of him. After receiving a fine and suspension for revealing his boxer shorts at Euro 2012, you’d have thought the Arsenal striker would have learnt his lesson.
But in his state of euphoria he forgot, and whipped his shirt off. He was duly booked, rendering him suspended for the next game against Malta.
Bendtner did not even know he was suspended, according to Ekstra Bladet:
‘’Am I suspended? Well, I was not aware’’
Not that it matters. Because of the bizarre system used by UEFA in qualifying not all runners-up are assured of a play-off spot - and after the draw with Italy there is no chance of Denmark qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil.
But Nicklas, please, try not to get booked after every goal you score.
What did you make of Bendtner’s performance for Denmark? Is he recapturing his form?
image: © Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi