Buffon has eyes on Landmark

A look ahead to Friday's World Cup qualification action in Group B, including a clash between Denmark and Italy.

Last Updated: 10/10/13 at 11:59 Post Comment   

Gianluigi Buffon: Will make 137th Italy appearance

Gianluigi Buffon: Will make 137th Italy appearance

All eyes will be on Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon when the Azzurri travel to Copenhagen for Friday's World Cup Group B qualifier against Denmark.

The Juventus goalkeeper will become Italy's most capped player when he makes his 137th appearance against the Danes.

Buffon will break the previous record he shared with former Juventus and Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro when he leads the Italians on the pitch for their penultimate qualifier.

"It's an important achievement," Buffon said to www.figc.it. "But it will not be my last one.

"The national team is a reference point for me, it's the most beautiful expression of our football.

"It is the best thing we can export considering the results we have taken."

The four-time world champions have already booked their place in next year's tournament in Brazil having assured themselves top spot in the pool with two games to spare.

The Azzurri have won six of their last eight qualifiers and are unbeaten.

Cesare Prandelli's men, who finish their qualification campaign next week against Armenia, take on a Denmark side in desperate need of three points to remain in contention for a play-off spot.

Denmark have won their last two qualifiers but lie third in the group, one point behind second-placed Bulgaria.

Bulgaria travel to Yerevan knowing that victory over Armenia coupled with a Denmark loss to Italy would see them finish runners-up in the pool.

The Bulgarians bounced back from a 1-0 defeat in Italy with a 2-1 triumph at Malta last time out to revive their hopes of a play-off spot.

"The good news is that everything depends on us," Bulgaria coach Lyuboslav Penev said. "We need to take this game very seriously.

"This game is crucial and we have to fight and be better than our opponents.

"We are very close to advancing to the play-off and we need to get the job done in Armenia."

Armenia are not out of the race just yet and head into the contest level on nine points with the Czech Republic, who are fourth in the group.

The Czechs, meanwhile, make the trip to Ta'Qali without captain Tomas Rosicky.

The Arsenal midfielder is out with a calf injury and will not feature against bottom-side Malta.

The encounter in the Mediterranean island will mark Josef Pesice's first game in charge.

Pesice was appointed interim coach shortly after Michal Bilek resigned after last month's 2-1 loss in Italy that all but ended the Czechs hopes of qualifying for the World Cup.

Malta have mustered just three points in qualifying.


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