Nicklas Bendtner was the butt of the joke after Denmark got over their World Cup elimination at the hands of Italy.
On Friday night Nicklas Bendtner made a rather heroic comeback for the Danish national team. The striker had not played for his nation since receiving a ban from the football federation over drink-driving charges in the capital city Copenhagen.
But he showed that he is still an exceptional asset, especially in an aerial battle, after scoring two fantastic headed goals against Italy to give Denmark a 2-1 lead on the night, and keep their hopes of qualification for the World Cup next summer alive.
However, in the end, it proved a fruitless effort. Alberto Aquilani’s late goal gave Italy a 2-2 draw that knocked the Danes out of the competition - regardless of their result against basement nation Malta on Tuesday.
But Bendtner couldn’t have played anyway.
In his obvious excitement at scoring what might have been the goal that kept his nation in with a chance of qualification for Brazil 2014, he ripped off his shirt in celebration.
He was then booked, for the second time in the campaign, rendering him suspended for the game against Malta.
We love Bendtner here at HITC - because he is never shy of giving you a story, and his continuous flirtations with genuine quality and complete absurdity continue to perplex me.
And in the Danish national squad, the fact that they are now out of the competition means they can take it a little easier on their striker for his careless celebration - and find the funny side of the debacle.
I mean this is a player who had only just returned from one suspension, and last summer was suspended during the European Championships for revealing Paddy Power boxer shorts after scoring a goal.
Liverpool defender Daniel Agger commented on the treatment of the Arsenal man in the Danish camp by saying:
‘’Of course I have given him a ribbing…’’
While midfielder William Kvist has also been giving him stick:
‘’I understand his immense joy, and it was, somehow, a little fun to watch. It would have been a shame if we really had to win the match on Tuesday. Now it is little more then to smile about …’’
So the funny side has been seen by all, and now Bendtner will hope to take his international form into an Arsenal shirt, and score his first Premier League goal for the Gunners since the 29th December 2010 against Wigan Athletic - and as soon as possible.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald