Italy 2-2 Denmark
As the qualifying group stage reaches its climax, 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship hosts Denmark continued their preparations with a friendly draw against Italy in Viareggio.
While the Danish senior side battled back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Germany in Copenhagen, the U21s squandered a two-goal lead to draw with the Azzurrini, but coach Keld Bordinggaard was still able to take positives from the game. "We were without several of our regular players but still managed to control proceedings for great parts of the match," he said. "All in all it was a fine performance by the boys."
Denmark dominated the first half and went ahead on 20 minutes courtesy of a header from left-back Emil Lyng. They doubled their lead seven minutes into the second, Lasse Nielsen this time heading in from a corner, before Italy hit back.
Pierluigi Casiraghi's side, semi-finalists in 2009, face a real struggle to qualify for the finals and sit third in Group 3, three points behind Wales and one behind Hungary, but they showed their resolve to earn a draw thanks to goals from Alberto Paloschi just past the hour and captain Andrea Ranocchia with eight minutes to play.
While Denmark have already qualified for next summer's finals as hosts, Italy still have it all to do to join them there. They dropped to third in Group 3 following Hungary's win in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday and face two difficult tests in their remaining fixtures in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 3 September and at home to Wales four days later as they look to make up lost ground.
"I'm not worried about Hungary's victory," Casiraghi said. "You make the final count at the end of the campaign – our task is to win our two remaining games and I think we still have a chance."
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