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Rediff.com  » Sports » Italy and Netherlands in drab friendly draw, Buffon picks 100th cap

Italy and Netherlands in drab friendly draw, Buffon picks 100th cap

November 15, 2009 14:54 IST

Italy and Netherlands shared a dull 0-0 friendly draw on Saturday, with home striker Giampaolo Pazzini having a late goal ruled out for handball.

The substitute turned in Fabio Cannavaro's header with an outstretched arm eight minutes from time and the referee only gave a free kick after furious Dutch players asked him to consult his assistant.

Chances were limited with John Heitinga heading wide for the visitors midway through the second half just after Fabio Grosso had wasted a good opportunity for world champions Italy.

The two coaches fielded strong lineups but would have learnt little as they plan for June's World Cup in South Africa.

"What I can't explain is the percentage of passes we misplaced in the first half. It was a bit better in the second, 0-0 is not great but we are satisfied," Italy coach Marcello Lippi told Rai television.

Home goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon picked up his 100th cap while Livorno midfielder Antonio Candreva impressed on his debut and Cagliari's Davide Biondini also made his first appearance.

Injured Dutch striker Robin van Persie was carried off in the 15th minute while Inter Milan playmaker Wesley Sneijder was ruled out before kickoff with a thigh problem.

An Italy fan ran on to the pitch early on with a T-shirt calling for Sampdoria's Antonio Cassano to be brought into the team having been continually overlooked by Lippi.

The game was played in the Abruzzo region as part of a fundraising drive to help victims of the earthquake which killed nearly 300 people there in April.

Italy host Sweden in another friendly in Cesena on Wednesday while the Dutch meet Paraguay.

South Korea hold Denmark

A weakened Denmark side were held to a goalless draw by fellow World Cup qualifiers South Korea in an international friendly on Saturday.

The stalemate showed both teams have work to do in front of goal before the finals in South Arica next year.

"It's a fine result. We created chances," said Denmark coach Morten Olsen. "But we didn't score, just like in our game against Hungary (last month)."

Denmark lost 1-0 at home to Hungary in their final World Cup qualifying group game last month.

In the 13th minute on Saturday, Denmark's Soren Rieks broke free on the right and crossed to midfielder Jakob Poulsen in the penalty area but goalkeeper Lee Woon Jae cleared the ball.

Ten minutes later South Korea's Chung-Yong Lee threaded a pass through the Danish defence to Ji-Sung Park on the edge of the area but he shot straight at keeper Thomas Sorensen.

"It's a shame we didn't score in the first half, but overall we played a good match," said Denmark's Rieks.

The Koreans did find the net in the 54th minute but Ki-Hyeon Seol's effort after a free kick was ruled offside by Swedish referee Martin Hansson.

Seven of the Denmark players that featured against Hungary were unavailable on Saturday due to injuries.

Source:
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