Nicklas Bendtner is the butt of many a joke in the soccer world, but he was all business against the United States.
Bendtner scored a hat trick Wednesday to lead Denmark to a 3-2 win over the United States. Bendter’s first international treble turned heads around the world and introduced him to an American audience that might not have been to familiar with his tale before the game.
Bendtner’s first goal tied the score at 1-1 in the 33rd minute. Bendtner converted the easiest of chances when fellow forward Lasse Vibe back-heeled a pass to him in Team USA’s goal mouth.
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Bendtner made it 2-2 in the 84th minute when a failed clearance fell to him just seven yards from the goal.
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Bendtner might have finished the first two chances at any stage in his turbulent career, but his third goal showed why powerful clubs have given him the opportunity to play for them. Bendtner ran onto Cristian Eriksen’s diagonal pass, controlled it with his first touch and beat Nick Rimando with a well-struck half-volley with his second.
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Bendtner, 27, now has scored 29 goals for Denmark, which is more than feared strikers Edinson Cavani (24), Sergio Aguero (22), Radamel Falcao (21) and Carlos Tevez (13) have scored for Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia and Argentina, respectively.
Bendtner spent nine years on Arsenal’s books, gaining notoriety for his off-field behavior and outlandish statements instead of his play. Similar problems followed him during loan spells with Juventus and Sunderland as he failed to justify his hefty salary.
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Bendtner finally moved on from Arsenal last summer, joining German Bundesliga (first division) club Wolfsburg. He is struggling to score with his new club (one goal in 11 games), but he remains Denmark’s primary goal threat.
Bendtner also became a lord in Scotland last week, proving his cult hero status endures to this day regardless of his play in Europe’s major leagues.
Thumbnail photo via Jens Dresling/The Associated Press/POLFOTO