Italy and Denmark had to settle for a share of the spoils in their opening UEFA EURO 2004 encounter in Guimaraes, with some inspired goalkeeping ensuring the game remained goalless.
Denmark's Thomas Sørensen produced a stunning double save to deny Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti before half-time. Gianluigi Buffon emulated his opposite number to brilliantly keep out efforts in quick succession from Jon Dahl Tomasson and Dennis Rommedahl in the second half of an enthralling Group C encounter.
Italy lined up in an attacking formation, with skipper Totti playing just behind Christian Vieri while Juventus team-mates Del Piero and Mauro Camoranesi occupied the flanks. Denmark coach Morten Olsen drafted Daniel Jensen into the midfield to replace the suspended Thomas Gravesen and selected Rommedahl on the right wing in the absence of Jesper Grønkjær, who had stayed in Denmark following a family bereavement.
AC Milan forward Tomasson lined up in a deep-lying role behind striker Ebbe Sand and saw plenty of the ball early on as Denmark settled quicker. Rommedahl's seventh-minute corner evaded the whole Italy defence before reaching Martin Jørgensen but the Udinese Calcio winger failed to connect. Moments later Rommedahl jinked inside Gianluca Zambrotta and produced a low shot that was blocked by Fabio Cannavaro.
With Totti closely monitored by Christian Poulsen, Italy were struggling to get into their stride, although the forward forced a fine save from Sørensen with a long-range free-kick on 13 minutes. It was a rare moment of Italian danger though, and goalkeeper Buffon was soon called into action at the other end when Thomas Helveg rounded off his mazy run with a stinging left-foot shot that was palmed over the bar.
Denmark's wide play continued to pose problems and an intricate move involving Jørgensen and Sand sent Niclas Jensen clear down the left; his low cross was cut out by Alessandro Nesta. Left-back Jensen was involved in Denmark's next attack too, swinging over a free-kick from the right that was glanced agonisingly wide of the far post by Tomasson.
Italy almost snatched the lead against the run of play a minute before half-time when Del Piero pounced on a loose ball inside the area. His fierce shot was brilliantly saved by Sørensen and the rebound fell to Totti, but the forward's deflected shot was clawed to safety by the keeper.
Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni made a tactical switch at the break, with Del Piero moving in from the left wing to support Vieri, and immediately his side looked more dangerous. On 53 minutes Totti split the Denmark defence with an exquisite pass through for Zambrotta, but the left-back's shot slid wide of the far post.
Zambrotta soon found space again on the left, this time whipping over a cross for Vieri whose firm header was tipped over by an alert Sørensen. Suddenly Denmark's defence appeared stretched and from the resulting corner Christian Panucci headed over when well placed.
Despite his growing influence, Del Piero was replaced by Antonio Cassano in the 64th minute. The change merely prompted a spell of Denmark possession, and Sand went close to breaking the deadlock when he latched on to Jørgensen's cross, but the striker failed to keep his header down as both sides had to settle for a point.