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WC Qualification Europe

  • 16 October 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
  • Referee: D. Skomina
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Italy - Denmark Preview: Both sides with a point to prove after disappointing outings

Italy - Denmark Preview: Both sides with a point to prove after disappointing outings

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Although the Azzurri currently sit top of Group B, they have still come in for criticism. A solid victory over the Danes at home, however, could see the hosts garner more support

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

ITALY

De Sanctis
Maggio, Barzagli, Chiellini, Criscito
Marchisio, De Rossi, Pirlo
Montolivo,
Balotelli, Osvaldo
DENMARK

Andersen
Jacobsen, Kjaer, Agger, Mtiliga
Kvist, Kristensen
Rommedahl, Eriksen, Krohn-Dehli
Bendtner

Following their unconvincing victory over Armenia, Italy welcome Denmark for what should be a more rigorous examination of their World Cup dreams.

Whilst gaining three points at Armenia’s expense was undoubtedly Cesare Prandelli’s main priority he will have been dismayed by the catalogue of defensive errors made by his backline. Accordingly, Giorgio Chiellini will be recalled at the expense of Juventus team-mate Leonardo Bonucci.

With Prandelli choosing to alter his back four, he may be forced into one additional, unwanted change following the news that Gianluigi Buffon is unlikely to recover from a thigh strain in time to face the Danes. As a result, Napoli’s Morgan De Sanctis will be given a rare chance to prove his international pedigree.

On the plus side, there is more positive news regarding Mario Balotelli. The enigmatic forward was forced to sit out the Armenia match due to flu-like symptoms, but the noises coming out of the Italian camp are encouraging and he should start alongside in-form Pablo Osvaldo.

Denmark, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 1-1 draw away to Bulgaria. The Danes have drawn their opening two fixtures and lie second from bottom of Group B.

Defeat in Milan could spell a premature end to any hopes of qualifying but, with a fully fit starting XI, head coach Morten Olsen will be hoping that a victory over the Euro 2012 finalists can kick start his team’s campaign.


  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Following his goal against Armenia, Pablo Osvaldo has scored six goals in six games for club and country this season.

  • If Mario Balotelli plays against Denmark it will be his first involvement for Italy since Euro 2012.
  • The last meeting between these sides in 2004 ended in a 0-0 draw.

  • If Nicklas Bendtner scores against Italy, he will become Denmark’s 10th highest goal scorer.

  • This will be Morten Olsen's 92nd match in charge of Denmark.
  • In his time in charge, Denmark’s win percentage is just over 50 per cent.

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World Cup Qualification 2014 (Europe) ‎(WCQE)‎ 16 Oct 2012 Italy 3 - Denmark 1
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
Players to Watch
Giorgio Chiellini
Giorgio Chiellini
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 3
Games Goals YC RC
5 1 0 0
Following his exclusion against Armenia, the Juventus stopper will be back and with a point to prove. Strong in the air and even stronger in the tackle, Chiellini will be the key to Italy's defensive stability, especially with the expected absence of Gianluigi Buffon. If Chiellini marshalls the defence to the best of his ability it could be a fruitless night for the Danish attack.
Nicklas Bendtner
Nicklas Bendtner
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 11
Games Goals YC RC
3 3 2 0
At 24, Nicklas Bendtner is young, talented, egotistical and hungry. Hungry because, since his move to Juventus, he has only played 11 minutes of Serie A football. The Danish forward relishes first team football and showed with his goal against Bulgaria that he is not lacking for match sharpness. The frontman will be all too aware that a good performance against Italy will send out a strong message to Juventus and the rest of Italy about his ability.
Prediction
Neither side are in the best of form and it will likely be a tense, cagey affair in Milan. Both sides have the ability to cause their opponents problems going forward and, particularly if Buffon is absent, Denmark will fancy their chances of causing an upset. Despite this, a draw is the most likely outcome and one that would leave neither side too disheartened.
Editor's Prediction
Italy 1

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