Italy climbed to the Group B summit with an unconvincing victory in Armenia and they can now make a giant step towards the first place with three points against Denmark.
The Nordic side recorded their second stalemate of the campaign as they were held to 1-1 draw in Bulgaria, but they probably wouldn’t mind getting one point from this match as well.
Having really raised the bar with their showings at the Euro 2012, Italy were always going to have a difficult task in living up to the new expectations.
The Azzurri have indeed struggled to rediscover the form that served them so well in Poland and Ukraine, but they did what they do best and picked up 7 points from first 3 games in spite of the under-par showings.
Cesare Prandelli’s side were heavily criticized for the poor performance in the 3-1 win in Armenia, but, in all fariness, that can be seen as a great result given that even Europe’s top sides usually struggle in Yerevan.
The Azzurri now welcome Denmark to San Siro, and they are 1.53 (8/15) with Ladbrokes to record the third successive victory.
Everybody in Italy camp is hoping Gianluigi Buffon will recover from an adductor injury, but the good news is Mario Balotelli has resumed full training having missed the Armenia game.
Sebastian Giovinco is struggling with an ankle problem, but the diminutive striker is likely to be dropped even if he recovers in time.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-1-2): Buffon – Maggio, Barzagli, Bonucci, Criscito – De Rossi, Pirlo, Marchisio – Montolivo – Osvaldo, Balotelli.
Denmark showed a lot of potential at the Euro 2012 even if they were unable to progress from the group of death in the end.
That gave the team a much needed confidence boost before the start of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, but Morten Olsen’s side failed to build on their impressive showing in Poland and Ukraine.
The Nordic side were held to a goalless draw by Czech Republic, before sharing spoils with Bulgaria as well, as they failed to win in Sofia despite having an extra man on the pitch for more than an hour.
Morten Olsen now faces a tough task of getting his players ready for the clash with one of the world’s top sides, but Denmark can be trusted to score at odds of 1.80 (4/5) offered by Sportingbet.
Young forward Andreas Cornelius is suspended after picking up his second yellow of the campaign, but that is the only selection problem at the moment.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Andersen – Jacobsen, Kjaer, Agger, Wass – Kvist, Kristensen – Rommedahl, Bendtner, Krohn-Dehli.