Italy vs. Denmark: How Each Team Can Prevail in 2013 UEFA Women's Euro Match

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVJuly 13, 2013

HALMSTAD, SWEDEN - JULY 10:  Daniela Stracchi (L) of Italy battles for the ball with Annika Kukkonen (R) of Finland during the UEFA Women's Euro 2013 group A match at Orjans Vall on July 10, 2013 in Halmstad, Sweden.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Martin Rose/Getty Images

The 2013 Women's Euro tournament features some of the best ladies' soccer on the planet, and that will become known during Italy's group-stage affair with Denmark.

Saturday's match will be a telling factor in the chances of each team in the tournament. All four Group A squads are tied at one point apiece, with ties evening the sides after one match.

Will the Azzurre be able to continue their dominating run through the international playing field? Or will the able Denmark women come up big to take down the Italians?

Let's break down what's on the line for each team and how each one can come out with victory.



After one of the most authoritative runs through qualifying in Euro history (they did not concede a goal in 10 matches), Italy looked poised for a deep run in the tournament to say the least.

However, the Azzurre weren't able to score in their first match against Finland and pulled out a scoreless draw. Now, they're tied with Sweden, Finland and Denmark for two qualifying spots out of Group A.

The big key for the Italians will be Patrizia Panico. The experienced striker has the most caps—184—in Italy's history and has 96 international goals to go along with that.

Italy's lethargic offense lately has largely been a byproduct of Panico's inability to get it done in big matches, which is nothing short of surprising. She's one of the best players of all time, in any nation. 

Panico spoke to about how she wanted a "happy ending" at this year's Euro, all but assuring that this will be her last time competing in the European Championships. There wouldn't be a better way for her to go out than in dominating fashion. 

Manager Antonio Cabrini is surely hard at work figuring out how to jump-start his offense, and the answer is to direct fellow offensive stars Melania Gabbiadini and Pamela Conti to push the ball to Panico to get their 38-year-old star striker going.

Italy's attack is largely run through these three, and if they don't get it done, it will likely mean another scoreless affair for the Italians. And if there's one thing that is certain after the first match, it's that draws simply won't get it done.



While Italy boast two Euro championship finals appearances since 1990, Denmark haven't made it out of the first round in the tournament since 2001. But with nothing to lose this year and a favorable start, they could make a case for getting through Group A alive.

Denmark's attack is led by Johanna Rasmussen, a 30-year-old forward who plays for Kristianstad DFF. With 29 career goals in 106 caps, she's a formidable force on offense and in the leadership department.

But she's about the only splash of experience they have up top. She's joined by 20-year-old Pernille Harder, who already has notched 21 goals in 44 career caps to quickly become one of the world's premier young footballers.

Sanne Troelsgaard also contributes to the attack. The 24-year-old is sure to add a scoring touch and an offensive mindset to the squad every time she's able to make an impact. 

The Danish are coming in off seven wins and one loss in the Euro final group qualifying, and their 1-1 draw against Sweden—who rank fifth in the FIFA rankings—did wonders for their chances to move on if Sweden can end up winning their final two matches.

Simply put, Denmark are in a great spot to advance, but it would look awfully dim if they aren't able to at least pick up a draw against Italy.

Now, to the elephant in the room. The Italians have obviously been impossible to score on, so how is Denmark's attack even going to be able to score one goal? 

It doesn't have to. The Azzurre may be stopping all of their opponents from scoring, but their struggles offensively have generally balanced it out. If Denmark don't push too far and respect Italy's offense, they could get away with a draw just like that and be in a solid position to advance.