Denmark holds Italy to 0-0 draw

Goalkeepers Gianluigi Buffon and Thomas Soerensen were the heroes as Italy was held to a 0-0 draw by Denmark in a Euro 2004 Group C match.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Goalkeepers Gianluigi Buffon and Thomas Soerensen were the heroes as Italy was held to a 0-0 draw by Denmark in a Euro 2004 Group C opener tonight. The stars of Serie A were made to look ordinary by a workmanlike Danish team who would have captured all three points but for two good saves by arguably the world's best 'keeper. Buffon kept out shots from Martin Joergensen and Dennis Rommedahl while Soerensen made reflex-action stops from Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti in the space of two seconds. Danish attack Vs Italian defence Playing in hot conditions at the Dom Afonso Henriques stadium, Danes opted for pace and muscle to try and unsettle the usually rock solid Italian defence and provided some early scares. But the Italians went close when Totti took aim with a 30-meter free kick which was bending in late before goalkeeper Soerensen pushed the ball round the post. In the 17th minute Inter Milan's Thomas Helveg, making his 85th appearance for Denmark, was left free to cut inside and power a 25-meter shot that the unprotected Buffon had to punch upwards. Fielding four stars who play regularly in the Italian league, the Danes continued to stretch the Italian midfield and put pressure on the Italian defense. But they were grateful to two stunning saves by Soerensen just before half time. The Aston Villa keeper leapt to his right to push out Del Piero's shot and recovered to push Totti's follow up effort away with his right hand as favored Italy almost took the lead in the final minutes of the first half. At the other end, Italian 'keeper Buffon then dived low to his right to keep out a shot from Martin Joergensen to make sure the teams went into halftime 0-0. Italians slip The Italians should have gone ahead in the 53rd minute when they finally put together a slick move. Totti slipped the ball out left to the overlapping Gianluca Zambrotta who had just Soerensen to beat from a tight angle but rolled the ball across the face of the goal. Christian Vieri had done little to threaten the Danish goal but he jumped to meet an inswinging left wing cross from Del Piero in the 54th minute only for Soerensen to push his powerful header over the crossbar. Buffon rescued the Italians again with a wonder save after Claus Jensen opened up the Italian defence and handed Dennis Rommedahl a shooting chance from the edge of the area. The PSV Eindhoven forward fired a low, hard shot that appeared on its way into the net but Buffon dived low to his left to push the ball away. Buffon also fisted away a 30-metre strike by Daniel Jensen before Totti had a chance to win the game for Italy. Helveg fouled him 25 metres out but the Roma star drove the free kick high into the crowd instead of into the net. (AP)