NEWS
Friday October 11 2013
Line-ups: Denmark-Italy

Dani Osvaldo, Antonio Candreva and Alessandro Diamanti start in tonight’s Denmark-Italy World Cup qualifier.

The Azzurri have already booked their spot at Brazil 2014, but want to maintain their unbeaten status and position in the FIFA World Ranking. It kicks off in Copenhagen at 19.15 UK time (18.15 GMT).

Cesare Prandelli is without the injured Mario Balotelli, Marco Verratti, Lorenzo Insigne and Daniele De Rossi, while Andrea Pirlo is rested in midfield.

It gives him the opportunity to experiment with Southampton striker Osvaldo supported by Lazio’s Candreva and Diamanti of Bologna.

Gigi Buffon becomes the sole all-time most capped player in Italy history with his 137th appearance.

Andrea Ranocchia, Federico Balzaretti, Thiago Motta and Lorenzo De Silvestri get the chance to prove themselves with rare starts.

Balotelli is also suffering from flu symptoms, so will remain in the hotel rather than sit in the freezing stands.

If Italy are already safely qualified, then Denmark, Bulgaria and Armenia are locked in a very tight battle for the runner-up spot in Group B.

Today Armenia beat nine-man Bulgaria 2-1, putting themselves on 12 points with Denmark, just one behind the Bulgarians. It’s possible whoever finishes second in Group B will not have enough points to qualify for the play-offs anyway.

Former Juventus flop Nicklas Bendtner starts in attack, though the real danger man is expected to be 21-year-old Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen.

This is the 13th meeting between these nations with eight Italy wins, one draw and three Danish victories. The Azzurri scored in 11 of the previous 12 encounters, firing blanks only in a 0-0 at Euro 2004.

Denmark: Andersen; Jacobsen, Bjelland, Agger, Boilesen; Kvist, Zimling; Braithwaite, Eriksen, Krohn-Dehli; Bendtner

Italy: Buffon; Balzaretti, Chiellini, Ranocchia, De Silvestri; Thiago Motta, Montolivo, Marchisio; Diamanti, Candreva; Osvaldo

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