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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (ATT 37,000) 16th October 2012 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: D Skomina

Italy Italy vs Denmark Denmark

Italy 3

R Montolivo (33)
D De Rossi (37)
D Osvaldo (S/O 46)
M Balotelli (54)

ft

Denmark 1

W Kvist (45+1)

Azzurri too strong for Denmark

Montolivo, De Rossi and Balotelli on target in 3-1 win

Last Updated: 16/10/12 10:15pm

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Mario Balotelli: Grabbed the third goal for Italy against Denmark

Mario Balotelli: Grabbed the third goal for Italy against Denmark

Italy got the convincing win they needed to silence some of their critics despite playing virtually the entire second half with 10 men at home to Denmark.

Two goals in the space of five first-half minutes from Riccardo Montolivo and Daniele De Rossi had them 2-0 up eight minutes before the break, although Denmark got a goal back in first-half injury time through William Kvist Jorgensen.

Then, just 18 seconds into the second half, Italy's Pablo Osvaldo was shown red for violent conduct after an incident involving Denmark's Nicolai Stokholm.

However, Cesare Prandelli's team, largely unimpressive in their World Cup qualifying campaign so far, did not let that throw them off their stride as Mario Balotelli - making his first appearance for Italy since Euro 2012 - fired in a third in the 54th minute.

The mercurial Balotelli's first contribution had been to concede a free-kick as Denmark mounted an early attack but after Nicklas Bendtner fired wide, Italy began to find their feet.

Montolivo tried a sighter from a long range before Stokholm blocked Osvaldo's shot to concede a corner.

Morgan De Sanctis, starting in goal in place of the injured Gianluigi Buffon for Italy, was called on to tip Christian Eriksen's 30-yard shot over the crossbar.

Osvaldo headed wide from Ignazio Abate's cross before Simon Kjaer got in a block to concede a corner when Federico Balzaretti drilled an effort from outside the area.

Denmark threatened again just after the half-hour mark, with Kvist Jorgensen's shot tipped over by De Sanctis before Bendtner headed over from the resulting corner.

But moments later it was Italy who led with Balotelli reminding Italy why they had missed him, the Manchester City striker picking out Montolivo to lash the ball home.

Shaky

Denmark had barely recovered from that when it became two with Andrea Pirlo crossing for De Rossi to head in from close range.

Denmark twice threatened in quick succession with Lars Jacobsen shooting over and Dennis Rommedahl sending an effort narrowly wide before they got their goal, Kvist Jorgensen finishing from the edge of the area after being picked out by Jacobsen.

Given their recent shaky form, Osvaldo's red card might have rattled Italy when it came so soon in the second half, but instead they pulled further clear, with Pirlo teeing up Balotelli to fire a shot low into the net.

Denmark pushed for a way back into the game, but Michael Krohn-Delhi curled a shot over and Daniel Agger's more powerful effort was likewise too high.

Eriksen joined in with another shot from range that drifted over the crossbar and the chances began to dry up with Italy looking to consolidate their position.

Understandably, there was little ambition shown by the outnumbered Italians, but they almost nicked a fourth when Stephan Andersen fumbled Montolivo's long-range effort inside the final 10 minutes.

The win sees Italy move four points clear of Bulgaria at the top of Group B although third-placed Czech Republic, five points back, have a game in hand.

Denmark are in trouble with only two points from three matches.

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Matches

  • FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

    Tue 16th Oct - Group F
    Tue 16th Oct - Group I
    Tue 16th Oct - Group G
    • Latvia
      2 - 0
      Liechtenstein
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    • Bos & Herz
      3 - 0
      Lithuania
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    • Slovakia
      0 - 1
      Greece
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    Tue 16th Oct - Group D
    Tue 16th Oct - Group A
    Tue 16th Oct - Group B
    Tue 16th Oct - Group E
    Tue 16th Oct - Group H
    • Ukraine
      0 - 1
      Montenegro
      bet
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    • San Marino
      0 - 2
      Moldova
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    Tue 16th Oct - Group C
    • Faroe Islands
      1 - 4
      Rep Ireland
      bet
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    • Austria
      4 - 0
      Kazakhstan
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    • Germany
      4 - 4
      Sweden
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Tables

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Belgium 10 26
2 Croatia 10 17
3 Serbia 10 14
4 Scotland 10 11
5 Wales 10 10
6 Macedonia 10 7

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Italy 10 22
2 Denmark 10 16
3 Czech Republic 10 15
4 Bulgaria 10 13
5 Armenia 10 13
6 Malta 10 3

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 10 28
2 Sweden 10 20
3 Austria 10 17
4 Republic of Ireland 10 14
5 Kazakhstan 10 5
6 Faroe Islands 10 1

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Netherlands 10 28
2 Romania 10 19
3 Hungary 10 17
4 Turkey 10 16
5 Estonia 10 7
6 Andorra 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Switzerland 10 24
2 Iceland 10 17
3 Slovenia 10 15
4 Norway 10 12
5 Albania 10 11
6 Cyprus 10 5

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Russia 10 22
2 Portugal 10 21
3 Israel 10 14
4 Azerbaijan 10 9
5 Northern Ireland 10 7
6 Luxembourg 10 6

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 10 25
2 Greece 10 25
3 Slovakia 10 13
4 Lithuania 10 11
5 Latvia 10 8
6 Liechtenstein 10 2

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 10 22
2 Ukraine 10 21
3 Montenegro 10 15
4 Poland 10 13
5 Moldova 10 11
6 San Marino 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Spain 8 20
2 France 8 17
3 Finland 8 9
4 Georgia 8 5
5 Belarus 8 4

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