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Euro 2008

17.06.2008 23:12

Italy through to the quarter final


Italy secured their first win in the European Championships on Tuesday evening when they beat France and progressed to the quarter finals along with the Netherlands from Group C.

In their third game of the tournament, the Azzurri went into the game against Les Bleus knowing that if Romania lost to the Netherlands then it was winner takes it all. There was to be no avenging the World Cup Final defeat two years ago for the French however as they went down 2-0.

Even opening

Luca Toni had a night to forget in front of goal for Roberto Donadoni's team as he had eight chances and failed to score with any of them, while at the other end only Karim Benzema and Thierry Henry truly tested Gianluigi Buffon in the Italian goal. There was some terrible luck for the French after just ten minutes, however, when Franck Ribéry suffered an injury that saw him have to substituted immediately.

Red card and penalty

In the 23rd minute, the tension rose even higher when Éric Abidal clipped Toni down from behind right in front of the keeper and the referee was left with little choice but to award a penalty and send the Barcelona defender off. Andrea Pirlo showed little mercy as he fired home from 12 yards out and put the Italians firmly in control.

A player less

With a player less, France were always on the back foot and Henry faced a difficult challenge patrolling the front line by himself. At the other end, Italy continued to create chances with Daniele de Rossi seeing his free-kick superbly tipped onto the post by Gregory Coupet.


Benzema summed up France's evening when he took aim and saw a superb effort produce an equally good save from Buffon. Soon after, De Rossi's free-kick deflected wickedly off Henry's legs and left Coupet with no chance of stopping Italy going two goals ahead. That was the match over as a contest and at the final whistle the Italians' relief was plain to see with their celebrations.

Romania go out

Romania could have qualified in second place if they had beaten a Dutch team that contained ten changes from their last game, but Marco van Basten's side proved to be too strong. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar put the Oranje ahead before Robin van Persie hammered home a second to maintain his team's 100 per cent record in the competition.
Italy through to the quarter final
Match details
France 0
Italy 2

Francia: Coupet, Abidal, Gallas, Makelele, Benzema, Govou (Anelka), Henry, Evra, Clerc, Toulalan, Ribéry (Nasri (Boumsong)).

Italia: Buffon, Panucci, Grosso, Chiellini, Gatusso (Aquilani), Toni, De Rossi, Cassano, Zambrotta, Perrotta (Camoranesi), Pirlo (Ambrosini).

Goals: 0-1 Pirlo (m.24)
0-2 De Rossi (m. 61)

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