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Soccer: Italy lavished with praise after seeing off Danes

Azzurri win 3-1 despite being in 10 in second half

Soccer: Italy lavished with praise after seeing off Danes

(ANSA) - Rome, October 17 - Italy were lavished with praise in the sports press on Wednesday after seeing off Denmark 3-1 in 10 men at the San Siro in the most impressive performance of their World Cup qualifying campaign so far. Manchester City's Mario Balotelli was the Azzurri's man of the match after he laid on Riccardo Montolivo's thunderbolt opener in the first half and latched on to a threaded Andrea Pirlo in the second and touched home his side's third goal. Pirlo was also hailed for a superlative display in which he also provided the cross for Daniele De Rossi to head in the second goal after 37 minutes. The whole team was also praised for showing character and composure after conceding a goal just before the break and having forward Pablo Osvaldo sent off just after it for shoving his hand into an opponent's face. The victory puts Italy four points clear at the top of European qualification Group B with 10 points from four games. "This is Italy," read the front-page headline of La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Pirlo inspires, Balotelli enchants, the Azzurri take flight towards the World Cup". Corriere dello Sport beamed: "World Cup Italy". "Denmark beaten (3-1), Brazil 2014 moves closer. "Montolivo, De Rossi and Super Balotelli score, Osvaldo sent off". The praise contrasted with the criticism coach Cesare Prandelli complained was unfair following Friday's 3-1 win in Armenia. Pundits had said Italy looked fragile in defence in Yerevan. "We had some trouble at the start, but then we played excellent football," said Prandelli after the Denmark match. "We deserved to go two goals up and when we conceded one at the end of the first half it could have complicated things. "With a man less we used up lots of energy, but we didn't run any risks. "We showed great spirit. We fought in 10 with order and determination. I have to pay my compliments to the guys".

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