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  Results & Reviews: Match 05


Denmark continues scoreless spell with 0-0 draw versus Italy

Denmark counted the 0-0 draw against Italy as a victory.

For Italy, one of the favorites to win Euro 2004, Monday's opening match bordered on a disaster.

Only several great stops by goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon saved Italy, which coped poorly with the 33°C heat and the workmanlike Scandinavians.

"We suffered, and we'll have to suffer against Sweden and Bulgaria," said Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni, mentioning the other Group C teams.

"We certainly have to play better."

"If I had a fourth substitution, I certainly would have used it."
« Summary »

Group C 14 June 2004 1700 CET

D. Afonso Henriques, Guimarăes Attendance 29,595


Denmark (4-2-3-1) Sorensen; Helveg, Laursen, Henriksen, N.Jensen; Poulsen (Priske 76), D.Jensen; Rommedahl, Tomasson, Jorgensen (Perez 72); Sand (C.Jensen 69).
Italy (4-2-3-1) Buffon; Panucci, Cannavaro, Nesta, Zambrotta; Zanetti (Gattuso 57), Perrotta; Camoranesi (Fiore 68), Totti, Del Piero (Cassano 64); Vieri.
Referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez (ESP)

Denmark was better in the first half and, but for a spell of 15 minutes in the seconds, the Danes were the equals of Italy in the second. Coach Morten Olsen said they were better.

"I thought we deserved to win the game," he said. "We were better prepared, certainly better prepared than Italy. There is no doubt about that."

The Danish crowd also outclassed half as many Italian fans at Dom Afonso Henriques stadium with louder chants, better costumes -- hundreds of men wearing Viking helmets -- and more enthusiasm.

Asked why he thought Italy hadn't played better, Olsen replied: "I think because of Denmark they were not better."

Buffon and Danish 'keeper Thomas Soerensen were the main focus in what Olsen acknowledged may have looked like a "boring" game.

"We could have lost the game if Thomas hadn't made the kind of saves he did," Olsen said. "But over all, I thought we deserved to win the game."

The Danes were stronger and quicker than the Italians most of the time, and they used their "insider" knowledge from four starters who played last season in Italy's Serie A.

Despite dominating the first half, Soerensen had to make back-to-back saves late in the first half to rescue Denmark. He stopped Alessandro Del Piero's shot, and recovering to stop Francesco Totti's follow.

"It was very important to get off to a good start," Soerensen said. "I'm still a little disappointed, but we'll settle for a point. We matched one of the best teams in the tournament."

At the other end, Italian 'keeper Buffon dived low to his right to keep out a shot from Martin Joergensen to make sure the teams went into halftime 0-0.

"Yes, I made some difficult saves," Buffon said. "But I must do something good to deserve the jersey."

The Italians could have gone ahead in the 53rd minute when they finally put together a slick move. Francesco Totti slipped the ball out left to the overlapping Gianluca Zambrotta who had only Soerensen to beat from a tight angle, but rolled the ball across the face of the goal.

Buffon rescued the Italians again with a wonder save after Claus Jensen opened up the Italian defense and handed Dennis Rommedahl a shooting chance from the edge of the area. The PSV Eindhoven forward fired a low, hard shot that appeared on its way into the net but Buffon dived low to his left to push the ball away.

Buffon also fisted away a 30-meter strike by Daniel Jensen before Totti had a chance to win the game for Italy.

Soerensen and Buffon chatted briefly after the match.

"He (Buffon) came over and said 'well done'," Soerensen said. "He's a good 'keeper too and I think we showed that today."
- AP



 « Group Standings »

Group C

P W D L F A Pt
Italy 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
Denmark 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
Sweden 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Bulgaria 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


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 « Match Stats »

0 Goals 0
0 Halftime 0
7 Corners 5
3 Offsides 2
26 Fouls 23
2 Yellow cards 4
0 Red cards 0
26 Free kicks 28
10 Shots on target 7
3 Shots off target 5
0 Woodwork 0
5 Saves 6
0 GL Clearances 0
57% Possession 43%



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