11th October, 19:45BST
Italy travels to Denmark for the first time since their 2004 Euro Cup group stage clash which ended in a scoreless draw. The more recent fixture between these two sides finished with in a 3-1 victory for the Italian side. Riccardo Montolivo, De Rossi and Mario Balotelli was on the score sheet in that game, as the home side cruised to relatively easy win despite playing most of the second half with 10-men after Pablo Osvaldo was dismissed.
Team News & Tactics
This is a must win game for Denmark as their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup is hanging by a thread. The come into this game one point behind second placed Bulgaria. Denmark now need to win their remaining games and hope that result elsewhere goes there way.
Denmark are coming into this game after winning their last two matches. They followed their 1-2 victory over Malta with a 1-0 victory away to Armenia as Daniel Agger scored from the spot in the second half. But their last two matches was against the bottom two sides in the group, Italy will be a different proposition.
Morten Olsen doesn’t have any injury concerns ahead of this fixture and he is expected to make three changes to the side that was fielded against Armenia in their last game. Simon Kjaer will return to partner Agger in the center of the defence, in place of Andreas Bjelland. Olsen is also expected to change the formation to a more attacking 4-3-3 having seen his side fail to score from open play in the last game.
The change in formation means William Kvist will drop to the bench as Krohn-Dehli, Ankersen and Eriksen forms the three man midfield. Upfront Nicklas Bendtner will lead the line, flanked on either side by two highly rated youngsters – Martin Braithwaite and Viktor Fischer. Rosenborg forward Nicki Bille will drop back to the bench in this game. All eyes will be upon the 19-year-old Ajax attacker Viktor Fischer, who has already drawn a lot of attention from clubs across Europe.
Expected starting line-up (4-3-3): Andersen (GK); Boilesen, Agger, Kjaer, Zimling; Krohn-Dehli, Ankersen, Eriksen; Braithwaite, Bendtner, Fischer
The Azzurri have already qualified for the World Cup in Brazil next year. Italy have been on a good run of form in the qualifiers and have gone through a unbeaten campaign so far. In their last game, they defeated Czech Republic at home despite conceding the lead in an early goal by Libor Kozak. Giorgio Chiellini equalized in the second before Mario Balotelli scored the winner from the spot.
Cesare Prandelli has two injury concerns ahead of this fixture. Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi is out of contention in this game due to an Achilles injury, while AC Milan striker is in doubt for this game with a strained left thigh. He will not be risked in this game as Italy don’t have anything to play for.
Having secured their qualification Prandelli will be looking to use the next to matches to test his bench strength. He is expected to make five changes to the starting line-up that was fielded against Czech Republic in their last game. Federico Balzaretti will replace De Rossi at the back, while Candreva replaces Maggio on the right wing. There is expected to be a change in system in this game as well. Italy played with just Balotelli at the top in their last game in a 3-4-2-1 formation, but Pradelli is expected to switch to a 3-4-1-2 formation in this game with Giuseppe Rossi and Pablo Osvaldo leading the line upfront. Alessandro Diamanti will play in the hole behind them. This mean Giaccherini, who played in free role behind Balotelli in the last game, will play on the left wing.
All eyes will be on two men in this match – Giuseppe Rossi and Gianluigi Buffon. While the former is returning to the national side after a long absence, Buffon will become the most capped Italian player in this game, breaking the record of Cannavaro.
Expected starting Line-up (3-4-1-2): Buffon (GK); Chiellini, Bonucci, Balzaretti; Giaccherini, Montolivo, Pirlo, Candreva; Diamanti; Osvaldo, Rossi
Players to watch-out for
Giuseppe Rossi (Italy)
Here is a player whom even the neutrals and rival fans wants to succeed. Giuseppe Rossi, who started his career so brightly, has been badly halted by injuries. But this season, he seems to have recovered from his fitness concerns and his firing in all cylinders for Fiorentina. Rossi has already scored six goals in eight games this season for the club and will return to the Italian national side after nearly two years of hiatus.
Denmark 1-1 Italy
Denmark have all to play for in this game, and they will come out aggressively in this game. Expect them to take a lead in the first half of the match, but the Italians will come back in the second half and snatch a draw. Perhaps a Giuseppe Rossi equalizer on the cards?