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France sunk as Italy grab lifeline

Published: Wednesday 18 June 2008, 0.55CET
France 0-2 Italy
Andrea Pirlo's first-half penalty and Daniele De Rossi's deflected free-kick took Italy into the last eight.
by Matthew Spiro
from Letzigrund Stadion
France sunk as Italy grab lifeline
Andrea Pirlo leaps with joy after scoring from the penalty spot ©Getty Images

Match statistics

FranceItaly

Goals scored0
2
Attempts on target3
 
5
Attempts off target7
 
8
Corners3
 
3
Fouls committed22
 
23
Yellow cards4
 
3
Red cards1
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 27/06/2012 11:56 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Wednesday 18 June 2008, 0.55CET

France sunk as Italy grab lifeline

France 0-2 Italy
Andrea Pirlo's first-half penalty and Daniele De Rossi's deflected free-kick took Italy into the last eight.

World champions Italy qualified for the UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-finals in impressive fashion as they defeated France 2-0 at the Letzigrund Stadion and Romania lost by the same scoreline to the Netherlands.

Romania had begun the evening second in Group C and would have progressed regardless of events in Zurich had they beaten the already-qualified Dutch. But their reverse opened the door to the Azzurri who clinically grabbed the opportunity, inflicting another painful defeat on France and condemning the FIFA World Cup finalists to last place in the section.

The game's turning point arrived in the 24th minute when, after fouling Luca Toni, Éric Abidal was sent off and Andrea Pirlo converted the resulting penalty. Daniele De Rossi's second-half strike added gloss to a wonderful evening for Italy, dampened only by the yellow cards for Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso which mean they will miss the quarter-final against Spain on 22 June in Vienna.

France almost handed Italy an ideal start when Toni pounced on Abidal's slip, only to shoot narrowly wide. Having started slowly in each of their first two matches, Les Bleus were keen to seize an early grip and Franck Ribéry twice fired efforts wide before, to the dismay of the France fans, the winger injured his left leg in the tenth minute and was carried off. Samir Nasri was sent on, yet France's focus appeared to waver and Claude Makelele immediately needed to clear a Christian Panucci header off the line.

Italy looked menacing every time they broke and after Simone Perrotta had narrowly failed to collect Pirlo's pass, France finally cracked. Abidal fouled Toni as he bore down on goal, prompting the referee to point to the spot and brandish a red card. Pirlo made no mistake, expertly dispatching the ball into the top left-hand corner.

The double blow left France reeling and despite defender Jean-Alain Boumsong replacing the unfortunate Nasri, the two-time champions were in disarray. Toni might have scored three in as many minutes before the half-hour, but after skilfully back-heeling Antonio Cassano's cross fractionally past the post, the FC Bayern München forward twice missed the target with only Grégory Coupet to beat.

Thierry Henry had a chance to raise French spirits in the 34th minute but after racing on to Jérémy Toulalan's slick pass, the FC Barcelona forward directed a cross-shot past the post. With the strikers struggling to find their range, Fabio Grosso looked to show them the way just before half-time, curling a brilliant free-kick towards the bottom corner only for his Olympique Lyonnais team-mate Coupet to push it on to the post.

Despite playing with ten men, France began the second period in the ascendancy, with Karim Benzema volleying over before Henry had two shots comfortably saved by Gianluigi Buffon. News that the Netherlands had opened the scoring against Romania prompted an almighty roar from the Azzurri faithful and the celebrating continued when De Rossi scored on 62 minutes. The AS Roma midfielder's 30-metre free-kick took a cruel deflection off Henry, wrong-footing Coupet and effectively ending the French challenge.

Although Benzema subsequently saw his swerving shot brilliantly tipped wide by Buffon in the 74th minute, there was no way back for France, who finished with just one point after losing back-to-back matches for the first time in 15 years.

Last updated: 10/01/12 11.39CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2008/matches/round=15093/match=300703/postmatch/report/index.html#italy+grab+lifeline

Lineups

France

France

Italy

Italy

23
CoupetGrégory Coupet (GK)
1
BuffonGianluigi Buffon (GK) (C)
3
AbidalÉric Abidal
Red Card24
2
PanucciChristian Panucci
5
GallasWilliam Gallas
3
GrossoFabio Grosso
6
MakeleleClaude Makelele
4
ChielliniGiorgio Chiellini
Yellow Card45+4
9
BenzemaKarim Benzema
8
GattusoGennaro Gattuso
Yellow Card54
Substitution82
10
GovouSidney Govou
Yellow Card47
Substitution66
9
ToniLuca Toni
12
HenryThierry Henry (C)
Yellow Card85
10
De RossiDaniele De Rossi
Goal62
13
EvraPatrice Evra
Yellow Card18
18
CassanoAntonio Cassano
14
ClercFrançois Clerc
19
ZambrottaGianluca Zambrotta
20
ToulalanJérémy Toulalan
20
PerrottaSimone Perrotta
Substitution64
22
RibéryFranck Ribéry
Substitution10
21
PirloAndrea Pirlo
Goal25
Yellow Card44
Substitution55

Substitutes

1
MandandaSteve Mandanda (GK)
14
AmeliaMarco Amelia (GK)
16
FreySébastien Frey (GK)
17
De SanctisMorgan De Sanctis (GK)
2
BoumsongJean-Alain Boumsong
Substitution26
Yellow Card72
5
GamberiniAlessandro Gamberini
4
VieiraPatrick Vieira
6
BarzagliAndrea Barzagli
7
MaloudaFlorent Malouda
7
Del PieroAlessandro Del Piero
8
AnelkaNicolas Anelka
Substitution66
11
Di NataleAntonio Di Natale
11
NasriSamir Nasri
Substitution10
Substitution26
12
BorrielloMarco Borriello
15
ThuramLilian Thuram
13
AmbrosiniMassimo Ambrosini
Substitution55
17
SquillaciSébastien Squillaci
15
QuagliarellaFabio Quagliarella
18
GomisBafétimbi Gomis
16
CamoranesiMauro Camoranesi
Substitution64
19
SagnolWilly Sagnol
22
AquilaniAlberto Aquilani
Substitution82
21
L. DiarraLassana Diarra
23
MaterazziMarco Materazzi

Coach

Raymond Domenech (FRA) Roberto Donadoni (ITA)

Referee

Ľuboš Michel (SVK)

Assistant referees

Roman Slyško (SVK), Martin Balko (SVK)

Fourth official

Viktor Kassai (HUN)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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