Live Commentary: Italy 3-1 Denmark - as it happened

Mario Balotelli
© PA Photos
Sports Mole provides live text coverage of tonight's World Cup qualifier between Group B rivals Italy and Denmark in Milan.

Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of tonight's World Cup qualifying clash between Italy and Denmark in Milan.

The Azzurri have made a solid start in Group B, following up a 2-2 draw in Bulgaria with back-to-back wins over Malta and Armenia.

Meanwhile, Morten Olsen's Red and Whites are looking for their first win of the campaign, having begun with draws against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

Italy have won seven of their 11 previous games against Denmark, although the Scandinavian outfit are unbeaten in the last two meetings.


9.44pmItaly are now well on course for a place at World Cup 2014 with 10 points from four games. Meanwhile, with two points from three, Denmark have it all to do. Goodnight.

9.43pmDenmark were the better side for the first half-hour, before two goals in quick succession put the hosts firmly in control. Despite pulling one back just before half-time and then seeing Italy reduced to 10 men soon after the break, Denmark were unable to mount a comeback and Balotelli had the final word.

9.38pmFull-time: Italy 3-1 Denmark

90 minsPoulsen has another ambitious effort and forces a good save out of De Sanctis from long range.

89 minsChance for Denmark! Agger flicks on into the path of Poulsen, who sends a left-footed volley whistling over the bar from eight yards. Agger has been playing as a centre-forward for most of the second half.

87 minsAgger fouls De Rossi and that should be that!

86 minsEriksen's effort is deflected wide for a corner kick.

86 minsChiellini is rightly punished for a shove on Agger and Denmark have a free kick in a central position 25 yards out. They must score to keep the game alive.

85 minsEmanuele Giaccherini is brought on for Italy, as the departing Montolivo receives a standing ovation.

83 minsDenmark make their final substitution: Jakob Poulsen enters the field in place of Krohn-Delhi.

80 minsAndersen makes an impressive parry to deny Montolivo a second goal from long range.

78 minsMore frustration and more yellow card flashing. Bendtner enters the referee's notebook for dissent, after being penalised for climbing on Chiellini inside the Italy penalty area.

76 minsNicolai Stokholm is shown a yellow card for a late tackle on Balotelli. Quite a few Denmark players are beginning to look very frustrated - understandably so.

74 minsItaly make their first change, as Antonio Candreva comes on in place of Marchisio.

72 minsSecond sub for Denmark. Silberbauer makes way for Kasper Lorentzen.

67 minsEriksen, who is still looking bright for Denmark, fires over the bar from 20 yards.

62 minsBalotelli dazzles Agger with quick feet and then runs through on goal. However, the referee deems that Balotelli fouled Agger and awards a free kick to Denmark. Poor decision.

59 minsFirst substitution of the game: Thomas Kahlenberg replaces Danish goalscorer Kvist.

54 minsBalotelli beats the goalkeeper to a long diagonal ball from Pirlo and the Manchester City forward pokes home from 10 yards. Andersen certainly didn't cover himself in glory there!

54 minsGoal for Italy! 3-1 Mario Balotelli)

50 minsYou may be wandering 'when did Kristensen come on?' Well, he has actually been on from the start. However, he was not on the released team sheet. Denmark are wearing the wrong numbers and everyone, including UEFA, is very confused!

46 minsThomas Kristensen battles with Osvaldo for possession and, after the ball has gone, receives an elbow to the face. Osvaldo can have no complaints.

46 minsRed card for Italy (Pablo Osvaldo)

46 minsItaly get us underway in the second half.

8.36pmHalf time: Italy 2-1 Denmark

45 minsWell that was certainly clinical! Jacobsen's cross from the right is deflected and falls to Kvist, who guides a superb half volley into the bottom left corner from 18 yards.

45 minsGoal for Denmark! 2-1 (William Kvist)

44 minsDenmark have created the majority of the chances so far, but Italy's finishing has been clinical. Denmark, on the other hand, have been wasteful.

43 minsChance for Denmark! Jacobsen evades two challenges before ballooning his shot high and wide from eight yards.

40 minsYellow card for De Rossi, correctly issued for a cynical foul on Krohn-Delhi.

37 minsPirlo jinks in from the right and crosses for De Rossi, who heads home at the near post from six yards.

37 minsGoal for Italy! 2-0 (Daniele De Rossi)

34 minsItaly lead against the run of play. The Azzurri break quickly and Balotelli finds Montolivo with a clever touch. The Milan man then unleashes an unstoppable strike from 25 yards.

34 minsGoal for Italy! 1-0 (Riccardo Montolivo)

33 minsChance for Denmark! Kjaer nods the deep corner back across goal and Agger heads over from six yards.

32 minsChance for Denmark! Kvist gets in down the left, but his low drive from a narrow angle is parried away for a corner.

30 minsKvist fires in a long throw from the right. It causes mass confusion inside the Italy penalty area, before Abate hooks clear.

27 minsThe ball fails to beat the first defender and Denmark comfortably clear.

26 minsBalzaretti's ambitious long-range effort deflects over the bar for an Italian corner kick.

24 minsFollowing a very shaky start, Italy are now looking dominant for the first time tonight.

22 minsChance for Italy! Abate's whipped cross is missed by both Balotelli and goalkeeper Andersen. The ball finds its way to Osvaldo at the far post but, off balance, he sends his header trickling wide.

20 minsChance for Italy! Balotelli does well in the right channel and pulls the ball back to Marchisio on the edge of the area. The Juventus midfielder's goal-bound strike is headed off the line by the head of Kjaer.

18 minsIt is well cleared. Italy need to take the sting out of the game right now.

17 minsCorner to Denmark...

13 minsItaly are hanging on right now! Balotelli is back inside his own penalty area and makes a vital last-ditch tackle.

12 minsItaly are let off the hook, as the referee awards them a soft free kick for an apparent foul on De Sanctis.

11 minsDenmark go close! Eriksen forces a strong save out of De Sanctis with a dipping effort from long range. Corner kick...

9 minsDenmark look very comfortable right now. They are neat and tidy in possession, plus well organised without the ball.

7 minsChance for Denmark! A dreadful backpass by Chiellini is followed by an equally poor kick from De Sanctis. Italy are very fortunate to escape unscathed.

5 minsMontolivo forces a simple save out of Andersen from all of 25 yards.

2 minsChance for Denmark! Eriksen shows great patience before finding Jacobsen on the overlap. He crosses to the back post, where Bendtner plants a firm hear just wide.

0 minsDenmark get us underway.

7.44pmThe Danish national anthem 'Der er et yndigt land' is well observed, before a raucous chorus of 'Il Canto degli Italiani' is passionately blasted out. Kick-off is moments away.

7.42pmMr Skomina leads the teams out into a cauldron of noise.

7.41pmTonight's referee is Damir Skomina, who is a 36-year-old from Slovenia.

7.39pmBig things are also expected from Eriksen. The Ajax playmaker was linked with big-money moves to Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United during the summer.

7.37pmThere are some familiar faces among the Danish starters. Five (Andersen, Agger, Jacobsen, Rommedahl, Bendtner) of the 11 have Premier League experience in England.

7.33pmElsewhere for the hosts, Morgan De Sanctis starts in goal because Gianluigi Buffon has an adductor problem.

7.31pmTonight's match also sees Balotelli return to the San Siro for the first time since his departure from Inter Milan in 2010.

7.29pmHe missed the first round of World Cup qualifiers because of laser surgery on his eyes. He then sat out of Friday's win in Armenia with a virus.

7.27pmThe headline news for the hosts is definitely the return of the enigmatic Mario Balotelli. The Manchester City forward has not played for his county since their elimination from Euro 2012.

7.24pmDenmark: Stephan Andersen, Simon Kjaer, Daniel Agger, Lars Jacobsen, Nicolai Stokholm, William Kvist, Christian Eriksen, Michael Silberbauer, Michael Krohn-Delhi, Dennis Rommedahl, Nicklas Bendtner

7.22pmItaly: Morgan De Sanctis, Giorgio Chiellini, Federico Balzaretti, Ignazio Abate, Andrea Barzagli, Claudio Marchisio, Daniele De Rossi, Riccardo Montolivo, Andrea Pirlo, Mario Balotelli, Pablo Osvaldo

7.21pmThe teams are in...


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