Euro 2008 Update


Italy 1-1 Romania

Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon’s late penalty save from Adrian Mutu kept his side in Euro 2008 after a draw with Group C rivals Romania. Italy were denied the lead when Luca Toni was wrongly ruled offside before Mutu lifted in a shot after a poor backheader to put Romania ahead. The lead lasted barely a minute with Christian Panucci touching in Giorgio Chiellini’s header across goal. Buffon’s heroics then saved Italy ahead of a final group game against France. The tall stopper dived to his left to get a hand to Mutu’s spot-kick which was then cleared after coming off his boot. Buffon’s passionate celebration epitomised Italy’s relief and they will now have to beat France on Tuesday to stand a chance of reaching the quarter-finals. Romania are also in with a strong shout of a last eight spot but will be left ruing Mutu’s miss, which was in keeping with a dramatic and action-packed game. Italy now play France on 17 June, while Romania simultaneously face the Netherlands.



Netherlands 4-1 France

Netherlands reached the last eight of Euro 2008 and topped Group C with a superb win against France, who are now fighting to survive in the tournament. Dirk Kuyt headed the Dutch in front after only 10 minutes. Substitute Robin van Persie turned in Arjen Robben’s cross on the hour, before Thierry Henry pulled one back from close range with 19 minutes left. Robben’s angled finish seconds later sunk France and Wesley Sneijder added a fourth from 20 yards in injury time. The Dutch delivered another masterclass in ruthless finishing and the victory was a tactical triumph for coach Marco van Basten, who saw substitutes Van Persie and Robben emerge to play crucial roles in the win. France, like Italy before them, had opportunities against the Dutch but were exposed by the brilliant counter-attacking style that has become the trademark of Van Basten’s side. Italy’s earlier draw with Romania leaves them both battling with France to reach the quarter-finals. And the so-called “group of death” will climax with a mouth-watering repeat of the 2006 World Cup final when France and Italy meet in Zurich on Tuesday, with survival in the tournament the potential prize.








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