Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Group C decided

Holland did Italy a favor as they completed a sweep of Group C after defeating Romania 2-0. A win by Romania would have put them into the round of 8, knocking out Italy and France with whom they tied in both matches.

Holland 2 - Romania 0
Game stats

Meanwhile, Italy survived the "Group of Death" as they soundly defeated rival France in a rematch of the World Cup finals from 2006.

France was required to play a man down from the early parts of the match as Eric Abidal was sent off for a tough tackle on Luca Toni. Andrea Pirlo would score on the ensuing penalty kick giving the Italians a 1-0 lead at the 25 minute mark. Earlier in the game Franck Ribery was carted off the field after a difficult challange against Gianluca Zambrotta and he did not return.

Later in the second half, Daniele DeRossi scored off a deflected indirect kick which glanced off of Thierry Henry and into the net. This goal would ice the game at 2-0. For his efforts, DeRossi was voted the Carlsberg Man of the Match.

Riding the momentum from Gianluigi Buffon's unbelievable save against Romania, Italy played a good game and the confusion that seemed to occur frequently on the defensive side earlier, disappeared for the most part.

This was hardly a replay of the 2006 final and it is obvious that they miss the leadership and tenacity of players like Zidane Zidane and Fabien Barthez. The French side finished a disappointing fourth in their group with two losses and one tie in group play and it appears their great decade long run of success may have come to an end.

Italy 2 - France 0
Game stats

Group C photos, June 17


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