Denmark vs. Italy: Final score 2-2, Danes now in a sticky spot

Laurence Griffiths

In a vacuum, a home draw against Italy is a decent result. In Denmark's current situation, it's a setback.

Italy didn't need a result on Friday, but they'll be pleased with their showing in Denmark. While they weren't at their best for most of the game, they came up with two goals, including a 90th minute equalizer in a hard fought 2-2 draw that could have tough consequences for the hosts.

Denmark were well in control early in the game, but looked susceptible on the counter. Eventually, the Italians were able to capitalize on one of their forays forward. Thiago Motta set up Pablo Osvaldo for the opening goal in the 28th minute, playing him in on goal with a long ball. Osvaldo cut back the ball, separating himself from Daniel Agger in the process, and placed an impressive finish past Stephan Andersen from the edge of the box.

Just before the stroke of halftime, the Danes struck back through Michael Krohn-Dehli and Nicklas Bendtner. Krohn-Dehli provided the assist with an impressive lofted cross to the back post and Bendtner beat his defender to the ball, heading it into the ground. Gianluigi Buffon wasn't expecting Bendtner to direct his header downwards and was caught off-guard on a shot that could have been saved.

The Danes nearly took the lead in the 56th minute off a free kick by Christian Eriksen, which struck the post from 25 yards. They were the more ambitious of the two teams throughout the second half until they produced a second goal, scoring in similar fashion to the first. Once again, Krohn-Dehli found Bendtner with a cross, which was headed on target, while Buffon failed to make a save he makes more often than not.

Unfortunately for Denmark, they were unable to hold on for three points. Substitute Alberto Aquilani was credited for the stoppage time winner, though he knew very little about it. Osvaldo took a shot from 12 yards that was heading well wide until it hit Aquilani in the midsection, then rolled past Andersen to steal a point for Italy.

The Italians had already qualified for the finals, while the Danes are in a tight race for a playoff spot. They'll enter the final match day behind Bulgaria on goal differential and just one point ahead of Armenia and the Czech Republic.

Denmark: Andersen, Bjelland, Agger, Boilesen, Jacobsen, Zimling (Andreasen 82'), Kvist, Krohn-Delhi, Eriksen, Braithwaite (Larsen 45'), Bendtner (Makienok 84')

Goals: Bendtner (45', 79')

Italy: Buffon, Balzaretti, Chiellini, Ranocchia, De Silvestri, Motta, Montolivo (Gilardino 81'), Marchisio (Aquilani 68'), Diamanti (Cerci 77'), Candreva, Osvaldo

Goals: Osvaldo (28'), Aquilani (90')

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