Italy coach Antonio Cabrini wants his players to engage with a philosophy that "winning is everything" when they tackle a Denmark team brimming with confidence in Group A.
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Antonio Cabrini poured scorn on the famous sentiments of Pierre de Coubertin, stressing "participating is not important, winning is everything" ahead of Italy's crucial UEFA Women's EURO 2013 encounter with Denmark on Saturday.
The Azzurre tactician, whose charges were held to a goalless draw by Finland in their Group A curtain-raiser on Wednesday, bestowed high praise on opposing captain Katrine Søndergaard Pedersen, even if the erudite midfielder - by his own admission - remains an 'enemy' for 90 minutes. Meanwhile, Denmark counterpart Kenneth Heiner-Møller envisages a game decided by slender margins, with his "fantastic" team in buoyant mood after holding hosts Sweden 1-1 last time out.
Antonio Cabrini, Italy coach
Denmark played very against Sweden, especially considering it was against the hosts, who were supported by a big crowd. They had a very positive attitude and are certainly a very well organised side. Their captain [Katrine Søndergaard Pedersen] is an important element of their game, she gets things going. Apart from her, they have three or four very strong players, both physically and technically.
We must play with the right motivation and give nothing away to our opponents. Participating is not important, winning is everything. We have to give our best to get as far as possible. I always tell my players that anything is possible until the final whistle blows and we must fight until the end.
The rankings don't hold much value in this tournament. Every team is competitive regardless of where they are ranked. Women's football is growing throughout Europe, but sadly Italy are lagging behind other countries. There is a vast difference physically, while we are trying to bridge the technical gap.
I can't say whether this is a must-win game. We've got to take to the pitch and make life as hard as possible for our opponents. If a team really wants to beat Italy, they've got to give 110% because we won't give away any gifts. We shake hands at the end, but for 90 minutes, they are our enemies.
Matchday one result
Italy 0-0 Finland
Marchitelli, D'Adda, Bartoli, Manieri, Salvai, Tuttino, Parisi, Stracchi, Camporese (Iannella), Gabbiadini, Panico.
• Player of the match: Anna Westerlund
Cabrini revealed that Italy are in "good condition", and despite a few minor muscle strains, all 23 players are fit.
Kenneth Heiner-Møller, Denmark coach
Italy are a great team, with top players, inspired by a legend in football who knows how to get big results in finals. We have more confidence after the opening game but now we have to use that confidence to put in a performance. Being confident is not enough, you need to work hard, do the defensive work. We will have to do exactly the same as we did in Gothenburg against Sweden.
If you are too confident, you can lose out to any opponent. Unfortunately we've been there before, thinking we were better than we maybe were. To perform well tomorrow, I think we have to believe in ourselves. We are confident, I'm confident and I think we have a fantastic team.
I rate the game as 50/50. Italy have attained some great results recently and not conceded a goal in who knows how many minutes when it mattered, so hopefully we can get one tomorrow. We need to play with variety throughout the 90 minutes. We have a gifted group of midfielders, who have the ability to control the game with and without the ball.
Matchday one result
Sweden 1-1 Denmark
S. Petersen, Røddik, Ørntoft, Knudsen, Nielsen, Brogaard, S. Jensen (Rasmussen), Søndergaard Pedersen(C), Veje (Rydahl), Harder, S.Pedersen (Nadim).
• Player of the match: Stina Petersen
Heiner-Møller has a full compliment of players at his disposal and paid tribute to the "great" work of the Denmark medical team.
The teams first met competitively in 1991 UEFA European Women's Championship qualifying, Denmark winning 1-0 at home and drawing 1-1 away. Both progressed to the four-team finals in Denmark and met for third place, the hosts prevailing 2-1 after extra time.
Did you know?
Italy have never failed to make the last eight of a UEFA Women's EURO and were runners-up in 1993 and 1997.