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October 11, 2013
• Parken, København
Referee: S. Lannoy
• Attendance: 35305
N. Bendtner 45'+, 79'
P. Osvaldo 28'
A. Aquilani 90'+
The result means nothing in terms of points for Italy, but it was evident at the final whistle that this Azzurri side didn't travel here to merely go through the motions. I've been Simon Harrison, I've thoroughly enjoyed leading you through proceedings tonight, and I hope to see you all again next time.
That's all that we have time for tonight, but we hope that you have enjoyed Italy's late equaliser to grab a 2-2 draw in Copenhagen versus Denmark. Nicklas Bendtner the hero once again for his nation, but two goals for the Arsenal striker wasn't quite enough.
It wasn't to be, however, as a cruelly deflected Osvaldo strike provided Aquilani with the opportunity to bundle the ball home from six yard - though I'm not sure that he knew too much about it! Italy escape defeat, and Denmark make things very hard for themselves in Group B.
A wonderful goal from Pablo Osvaldo gave Azzurri the lead, with a combination of delightful control and a lovely finish, before a Bendtner brace provided some drama in what was merely a routine run-out for an already qualified Italian outfit.
FULL TIME! The final whistle goes, and Denmark have missed out on some important points in stoppage time here! Two goals from Bendtner weren't quite enough, and their players are clearly devastated.
90' + 3'
Yellow Card N. Boilesen
90' + 3'
CANDREVA! The Lazio midfielder turns to drive a free-kick over the wall, but blazes wildly over, and that'll be the last chance of the game, most likely!
90' + 2'
That's cruel on Denmark, but Olsen's men were inviting on pressure for the past five minutes or so. The home fans are deflated, and Italian chants are audible once again. Italy aren't happy with a draw though, and continue their late onslaught.
90' + 1'
Assist D. Osvaldo
90' + 1'
Goal Alberto Aquilani
GOOOOAL! AQUILANI! It looked like it might have come off of a Dane, but Italy are celebrating regardless! Osvaldo saw a shot blocked, but it ricocheted off Aquilani and into the net!
Larsen tries to hold the ball in the corner to waste some time, but the right midfielder is easily outmuscled by Chiellini and Italy mount yet another attack. Three minutes of stoppage time have been awarded.
GILARDINO! The substitute picks up a loose ball, and looks to acrobatically wrap his foot around the ball to test Andersen, but Bjelland steps in well to clear the ball.
Several of Denmark's players are looking rather exhausted, but Olsen's men are nearly over the line here now. Plenty of red shirts are sitting deep in their own half, which is inviting pressure on.
Italy are committing extra players forward now, and with their overlapping full-backs, there is always a spare man. Gilardino is presented with a golden chance, but can't stretch to turn the ball home at the back post!
Just over five minutes for Denmark to hold onto a very important win, and they do look capable. Andersen has dealt with everything that Italy can muster in this second half, but Azzurri have several players with an eye for goal in the final third now.
Half chance for Gilardino! The substitute gets to the byline, with one man in support in the box, but the cross is cut out. Now it's Denmark's opportunity to hold onto the ball and waste some time. A taste of their own medicine for Italy.
Italy haven't got long to chase this game now, and Denmark will defend this lead with their lives. The home crowd has gone a little quiet, I think that their team's unenviable task is dawning on them!
Yellow Card Nicklas Bendtner
Assist Michael Krohn-Dehli
Goal Nicklas Bendtner
BENDTNER! 2-1! DENMARK LEAD! A great header from the Arsenal man, and Denmark are on the way to a very important win!
Buffon was perhaps a little slow to get down to that, as the ball bounced off the turf and into the far corner, but thankfully this isn't a game with any real meaning for Azzurri! The immediate introduction of Gilardino signals Prandelli's intent.
ANDERSEN! The Danish goalkeeper is forced to sprawl to his right and palm a tame Candreva effort around the post for a corner. It wasn't the best strike, but Andersen had to make sure with that.
Bendtner is once again a target for a corner, but a good header from Ranocchia denies him! Eriksen picks up the pieces, racing past Balzaretti to square the ball, but his eventual cross is once again thwarted by Ranocchia.
Jacobsen goes down softly in the penalty area, but claims for a penalty, which the referee was never going to award. The former West Ham defender wasn't really in control of the ball when he attempted to go down.
A lovely reverse ball permits Boilesen to race forward, before delivering to Eriksen at the edge of the penalty area! Chiellini covers across to steal possession and clear the danger! Great covering from the Juve man.
Yellow Card Niki Zimling
Good defensive header from Bjelland! The centre-half manages to divert the ball away from the danger zone, after Balzaretti overlapped on the left yet again! There were blue shirts lurking, but Bjelland ensured that they'd have a fruitless trudge back to their starting positions.
Wasteful from Larsen! The right midfielder shoots from a ridiculous angle, and throws away all of the pressure that Denmark were building. He apologises to his teammate.
I don't think that Denmark can quite believe they're not ahead here! A top save and good work from Osvaldo in his own penalty area yet again, and Italy cling on. A couple of substitutions from Prandelli shows that this game isn't going in the right direction for the visitors.
Great save from Buffon! The ball strikes the crossbar, before bouncing down and threatening to pass over the line, but the Italian goalkeeper stretches out an arm to claw the ball away from danger! There are about four players walking around the penalty box with their heads in their hands!
ZIMLING! Buffon is forced to palm a strike over the bar, after Zimling was teed up by Denmark's goalscorer! The home crowd are in fantastic voice now, they're right behind their side!
CANDREVA! The tireless midfielder tries his luck from long range, but Andersen is happy to let the ball go behind for a goal kick. It's not quite happened for the Lazio man offensively tonight.
Yellow Card Andreas Bjelland
Osvaldo takes a wayward touch, and that's in microcosm what is happening on the field at the moment. Denmark are just that little bit sharper and more polished, as can be expected when Italy have a few poorer players on show.
Prandelli is instructing a few of his players to get warm, as substitutions will presumably be on the cards to help change the face of this game. Candreva tracks back brilliantly to deny Bendtner, sliding in to clear the ball behind for another home corner.
Krohn-Delhi tries an ambitious first time ball to the back post, with two red shirts lurking in wait, but the execution isn't quite right from the left winger. Denmark are edging closer...
Momentum is really slipping firmly into the hands of the home team, with Italy's pre-confirmed qualification perhaps in the minds of the players in blue. Osvaldo heads away from Bendtner, helping out defensively from a Danish corner.
MARCHISIO! The Italy midfielder found himself deep in the opposition penalty area, but could only pass the ball into Andersen when the opportunity came to give his side the lead once again!
Denmark are enjoying much more of the ball than their lofty opponents, but Italy remain a real threat on the break, and the more Denmark push on, the more susceptible they will be.
Buffon is keen to waste as much time as possible whenever the ball runs through to him, which is testament to how Denmark are competing this evening. It's still pragmatic to assume that the home side can win this.
POST! Buffon can only stand and stare at the back cracks off the post and back into play! Eriksen goes so, so close to giving his side the dream start to the second half.
Denmark pick up a free-kick in a very dangerous area, gifting Morten Olsen's side the perfect opportunity to get their noses in front. Eriksen was brought down on the edge of the box, and several Danish players are stood over the ball.
CANDREVA! The Lazio man races past three red shirts, using his pace and strength to wriggle his way through a small gap in the Danish defence. He can't control his next touch however, and the ball harmlessly rolls out of play.
Krohn-Delhi wins a corner off De Silvestri, and Denmark will look to finally make a set piece count. It is wasted however, as Buffon is quick off his line to claim the delivery, allowing for his side to push out and clear their lines.
DIAMANTI! SIDE NETTING! The Bologna man smartly steps inside Bjelland with a faked shot, but can only stab the ball wide of the near post from just inside the penalty box!
Balzaretti is strangely penalised for a foul throw, not something that you see all too often! Kvist takes his signature long throw, but Balzaretti nods the ball away from danger to make up for his error.
OSVALDO! The goalscorer wants a foul given for some tugging from Jacobsen, but the referee decides to wave play on. Osvaldo was close to turning home a dangerous back post cross, but Jacobsen did just enough to pressure him.
Marchisio is brought down by a tug by Krohn-Delhi, and the home crowd once again show their displeasure with a mixture of boos and jeers. It seems that only a second goal from Denmark can appease them.
The two teams have returned to the field, and we are back underway in the second half of this game, which is nicely poised at 1-1 following Nicklas Bendtner's injury time equaliser in the first half.
Denmark are desperate for three points this evening, and Bendtner has given his nation the best possible opportunity to go onto doing so in the second half. Anonymous for large periods, but present when needed, Bendtner could well be a hero at the end of this game!
Italy looked very comfortable for long periods, keen to hold onto the ball in deep areas before releasing the willing runners of Candreva and Osvaldo whenever possible. Denmark have had plenty of possession, with Krohn-Delhi looking particularly lively, and therefore a half time draw is probably fair.
A lovely individual goal from Osvaldo gave Italy the lead on 28 minutes, but a last gasp first half stoppage time equaliser from Nicklas Bendtner has clawed Denmark deservedly back into a very important game for the Scandinavian side!
That was the final kick of the half! The two teams trail to the dressing rooms after the referee's calls time on the end of the first half! The two nations go in level at the break at 1-1.
45' + 1'
Assist Michael Krohn-Dehli
45' + 1'
Goal Nicklas Bendtner
GOOOOOAL! BENDTNER! IT'S AN EQUALISER! The Arsenal striker rises well over Balzaretti at the back post to meet Krohn-Delhi's back post delivery, and Denmark are level!
KROHN-DELHI! The winger jinks inside, winding his way into the box after beating two defenders, however, he's robbed of the ball as he tries to shoot!
Candreva is found in an offside position, as a smart diagonal ball parts the Danish defence in one pass. They're playing a rather high line, despite Italy having luck in behind.
An ambitious crossfield ball from Eriksen looks to find Braithwaite on the right hand side, but the Toulouse man fails to control. Jacobsen was in a far better position to take the lofted pass, but Braithwaite tries in vain anyhow.
The home fans are voicing their displeasure once again, as Italy stroke the ball around composedly deep in their own half. The hosts do win back possession however, and Eriksen lays the ball off to Zimling, but the defensive midfielder blazes wildly over from 30 yards.
Osvaldo stabs a ball over the Danish defence in search of the onrushing Montolivo, but the covering Jacobsen is on hand to defuse the situation. Long balls are certainly the order of the day for Italy, they seem to think that getting the home side turned could prove to be consistently fruitful.
Important tackle from Zimling! The tenacious defensive midfielder manages to stick a toe in to prod the ball away from Marchisio, as the box to box Juventus midfielder looks to pull the trigger.
It must be reiterated that there are a few inexperienced or out of favour faces in this Azzurri line-up tonight. Olsen looks rather nervous already, standing with his arms folded, deep in thought, as he looks to muster up a way of parting the solid Italian defence that stands between his side and a deserved equaliser.
Denmark are seeing more of the ball than their prestigious opponents, but their forward line is looking rather toothless! Eriksen is forced to try and shoot from a ridiculous angle, given a distance lack of options ahead of him, and it almost catches out Buffon at his near post! Narrowly wide!
Great defending from Balzaretti! The Roma full-back is at the right place at the right time to clear a Boilesen cross, as the Ajax left-back powered his way to the byline brilliantly. No sign of a red shirt haring into the penalty area to challenge for the eventual cross, however!
With four blue shirts surrounding him, Bendtner is robbed of possession once again. Although he's not had the most productive of first halves, he's not being aided by his teammates much whatsoever. Braithwaite is yet to see any action on the right too.
Bendtner is now let down by poor service, as the Arsenal striker is left running for a ball that just didn't arrive. He's a focal point for Denmark, but he's yet to really see anything of the ball. The equally physical likes of Chiellini and Ranocchia may be the reasoning behind it.
Important interception from Montolivo! The former Fiorentina man steals the ball from the boot of Eriksen as the Spurs midfielder looks to thread an intricate ball through the tightly-packed Italian lines, and Italy are able to clear once again. I can envisage frustration levels rising for the hosts!
Diamanti goes down under a clumsy challenge from Kvist, and Denmark sportingly put the ball out of play to allow the Bologna playmaker to receive treatment. The home crowd aren't quite so accommodating however, and proceed to boo the Italian until he gets back to his feet.
Krohn-Delhi beats De Silvestri for pace down the left flank, before looking for the towering figure of Bendtner with a good cross, but Chiellini is there to frustrate his former teammate once again. The crowd are getting restless!
One direct ball from Italy, and the visitors have something to defend! The pressure really is on Denmark now, they can't afford to leave this stadium tonight empty-handed, but they're yet to trouble Buffon. It's almost possible to forget that Bendtner is playing.
Assist Thiago Motta
Goal D. Osvaldo
GOOOOAL! OSVALDO! The Southampton striker has given his country the lead! A delightful finish from the powerful forward! He skipped inside Agger after a lovely first touch, before curling the ball into the bottom right corner!
Bendtner gives away a free-kick, as Buffon flapped over the head of the former Juventus striker, but there didn't seem to be anything wrong with how the Dane challenged for the cross. Another half-chance from a set piece delivery for the home side.
Another attempted quick incisive ball from Montolivo, but the Milan midfielder fails to find the run of Osvaldo once again. Given that Italy are putting manpower into frustrating Denmark, playing on the break looks to be their best bet at the minute. The Danes are growing into this contest.
Good work from Ranocchia to turn away the cross of Boilesen, after the Ajax youngster picked up possession from Krohn-Delhi. The home side want a corner, but the French referee points for a goal kick - Bendtner disagrees.
Against a very solid opponent tonight, Olsen will be ruing that set piece opportunity which so easily could have resulted in the first goal here tonight. There is a sense of Denmark being underdogs, and so often scrappy set piece goals can be extremely important in such situations.
Eriksen is fouled, much to the disdain of the home support, but the Tottenham midfielder dusts himself off to take the free-kick himself. The delivery is excellent, and Bendtner stretches to try and make telling contact, but the Arsenal striker just can't turn the tantalising ball home!
ANDERSEN! Good save from the Dane to deny Osvaldo, who tried a cross-shot from the byline in search of Candreva. Boilesen clears up the pieces, and Denmark survive. A strong right wrist from the goalkeeper.
Tame effort! Denmark register a shot on target, but it is a bobbling effort which fails to test the considerable ability of Buffon. The home fans aren't in good voice, but an opportunity receives a smattering of applause.
Wasted opportunity for the home side, as the set piece comes to nothing. Italy look to break as a result of clearing their lines, but Osvaldo is unable to chase a very hopeful long ball.
Good challenge from Chiellini! The Juventus centre-half tussles with his ex-teammate Bendtner, before seeing the ball out of play for a corner.
A good intercepting header from Boilesen prevents another quick Italy break. Despite their patience, when the time is right, Prandelli's side have clearly been instructed to look for the powerful presence of Osvaldo directly.
Fifteen minutes gone, and the home fans are getting a little restless. Andersen has been the busier of the two goalkeeper, and Nicklas Bendtner has been relatively anonymous. No inspiration so far from Olsen's men, and they need three points here.
Diamanti is bundled to the ground by Daniel Agger, as the hosts' captain puts in a rather rash challenge to prevent an Italian break. Diamanti and Montolivo certainly have the potential to turn defence into attack very quickly for the visitors.
Montolivo tries an adventurous ball forward in search of Osvaldo, but the through ball doesn't quite find its intended target and Andersen collects. After a good first few minutes from Denmark, the overall impetus is swinging into the favour of Prandelli's men in blue.
This is far better from Italy, as the away side look to exploit the gaps in wide areas which are left when the likes of Braithwaite and Krohn-Delhi tuck inside to support Bendtner. There can be plenty of opportunity for Italy's full-backs to get forward tonight.
Good block! Italy work their way deep into opposition territory, before a shot from the edge of the 18 yard box is smartly charged down by a host of red shirts. Still only the one test for Andersen thus far.
Azzurri are happy to retain possession deep in their own half, with Buffon seeing plenty of the ball at his feet in the opening exchanges. No rush is seemingly the game plan for the visitors, but with the likes of Diamanti in the side, there is a slight sense of unpredictability too.
A lively and energetic first ten minutes for Denmark, while Italy have the swagger of a side who already has the comfort of qualification. Prandelli's men are keen to hold onto the ball, slow things down and prevent Denmark from grabbing an early goal.
KROHN-DELHI! The left winger cuts inside smartly, looking to curl the ball inside the far corner, but his technique lets him down a little, allowing for Buffon to watch the ball wide of his post. Not a bad start from the hosts.
Andersen is able to claim once again, following a ball in from the left from De Silvestri. A combination of Agger and Andersen manage to prevent the ball from finding the back of the net, before the goalkeeper smothers.
Claimed by Andersen! The Danish goalkeeper gets his first touch of the evening following a poor cross from the left. Patient play around the edge of the box from Motta and Montolivo allowed for an overlap, but Azzurri couldn't capitalise.
Denmark have started the better of the two side, with their home fans passionately getting behind their men. The pressure is likely to be placed on Eriksen's shoulders to find the breakthrough tonight, but the Tottenham midfielder has already got plenty of high-level experience.
Poor handling from Buffon! A whipped delivery from the right from Jacobsen is dealt with by Chiellini, but Buffon fails to smother the looping header. The Italian grabs it at the second attempt, but Bendtner was nearly provided with a cheap early chance.
BRAITHWAITE! The Toulouse forward is unfortunate, failing to get on the end of a lofted ball from Krohn-Delhi, and Buffon is able to watch the delivery bounce behind for the first goal kick of the game. If the Dane had managed to take a touch, he'd have had Buffon at his mercy from ten yards.
We are underway in Copenhagen! The referee blows his whistle for the first occasion, and we're off.
Denmark look to be setting up with Bendtner as a lone striker, allowing Krohn-Delhi and Braithwaite to take up positions in wide areas. Italy are operating with the hard-working Candreva and Diamanti behind the second string choice of Osvaldo.
The respective national anthems ring out in the evening air, and there's certainly an expectant atmosphere in Copenhagen. Denmark have stumbled in qualifying at times, but look to have righted their form of late, so the home support will expect a strong effort from their side.
This will be a chance for the likes of Thiago Motta, De Silvestri and Ranocchia to impress, given that the away side have the luxury of already having their place in Brazil booked. Denmark have a huge prize to play for, however, so don't expect this game to peter out.
Gianluigi Buffon's inclusion in the starting line-up hands the veteran goalkeeper the rather lofty honour of being the most capped player in Azzurri history. I'm sure that the statistics will be far from the Juventus man's mind, though!
Osvaldo is yet to really hit form for Southampton, but has been shown some faith by Prandelli tonight. Bendtner has been allowed to lead the line for the home side, as he looks to continue his good goalscoring record at national level - and maybe look to catch Arsene Wenger's eye in the process.
Italy starting line-up: Buffon; Chiellini, Balzaretti, Ranocchia; Thiago Motta, Montolivo, De Silvestri, Marchisio, Candreva, Diamanti; Osvaldo.
Denmark substitutes: Sloth, Larsen, J. Ankersen, Hansen, Schmeichel, Andreasen, Bille Nielsen, P. Ankersen, Kjaer, Makienok, Delaney, Fischer.
Denmark starting line-up: Andersen; Agger, Bjelland, Jacobsen, Boilesen; Krohn-Delhi, Zimling, Kvist, Eriksen; Bendtner, Braithwaite.
TEAM NEWS: Plenty of interesting inclusions for Prandelli's side, as Southampton's record signing Paolo Osvaldo gets a start this evening, while Mario Balotelli is absent. Nicklas Bendtner gets his promised start at the head of a strong Danish side.
With Armenia beating Bulgaria in an early Group B fixture, the pressure really is on Olsen's side to provide an upset against this very challenging Italian team. Prandelli has a wide armoury to choose from, with his key hitman Mario Balotelli bound to provide a particular threat for the visitors.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you up to date with proceedings from Copenhagen, as Cesare Prandelli's men face a rather stern test. Denmark have suffered a few surprise defeats in this group, but the Danes are no pushovers, even for a strong Azzurri set-up.
Hello and welcome to World Cup qualifying action between Denmark and Italy, as the visitors look to continue their unbeaten run in Group B. Denmark need a result tonight to keep their hopes alive, as both Bulgaria and Armenia stand inbetween Morten Olsen's side and a place in the tournament next year.
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