Denmark were unable to spring any surprises against Italy in their first match at the under-21 Euros in Poland last night.
The Italians came away with a 2-0 win thanks to second-half goals from Lorenzo Pellegrini and Andrea Petagna.
A sturdy Danish defence held the Italians until Pellegrini produced a moment of brilliance in the 54th minute, overhead-kicking the ball in following a poor clearance attempt.
The Danes then pushed for an equaliser and tested the Italian keeper a couple of times before Petagna closed out the game with minutes to go.
“I look ahead with optimism and belief; I think the players delivered a really fine performance,” coach Niels Frederiksen told Bold.dk.
“I’m not happy with the result – that’s important to say – but the performance was good. To me, it’s about hitting our top level individually and as a collective, and many players did that today. But we have to admit that we met a damn good team.”
Following Germany’s 2-0 win over Czech Republic in the other Group C match, Denmark and the Czechs both have zero points, while Italy and Germany are both on three points.
Next up for the Danes are Germany on Wednesday in Krakow. The game kicks off at 20:45 and will be shown on Kanal 5.
With only the best ranked second-placed team squeezing through to the semi-finals, Denmark will need to win their remaining games to have a chance.
Although the tournament is an under-21s tournament, some of the players involved are already 23, as those born from 1 January 1994 onwards are eligible to play.