GUIMARAES, Portugal Italy was held to a 0-0 tie by Denmark on Monday, a big setback for an Italian team considered one of the favorites to win the European Championship.
In Monday's other game, Sweden routed Bulgaria 5-0.
It was a disappointing result for the Italians, who were outplayed by a workmanlike Danish team that was stronger and quicker and would have won if not for two saves by Gianluigi Buffon, one of the world's best goalkeepers.
''At last, we faced the reality of European Championship,'' Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni said.
Buffon kept out shots by Martin Joergensen and Dennis Rommedahl. Denmark goalie Thomas Soerensen made reflex-action stops on shots by Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti in the space of two seconds. Playing in 91-degree heat at the Dom Afonso Henriques Stadium, the Danes employed pace and muscle to try and unsettle the usually rock-solid Italian defense, and they provided some early scares.
Henrik Larsson, persuaded to come out of retirement from international play, had two goals for Sweden.
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