Italy suffered their first defeat at the UEFA European Women's Championship in the Donaustadion in Ulm and it cost them a place in the semi-finals of the competition, an achievement they have managed in three of the last four tournaments.
France, gaining their first points after two defeats, played splendidly and fully deserved their 2-0 win gained through Marinette Pichon and a second-half penalty from Françoise Jezéquel. In the final minute Italy's star striker Patrizia Panico was ordered off following a foul.
Rita Guarino, who scored the goal that put Italy ahead against Norway, was left on the bench as she continued to nurse a thigh injury. Silvia Tagliacarne came in to play alongside Panico, while at right-back Monica Caprini was another making her first appearance of the tournament.
France had known since Thursday that this was their final bow and to make matters more difficult they were also without captain Corinne Diacre following her red card in the Denmark game. They brought Elodie Woock into midfield and she often came up with a clever touch in a first half of few goalscoring opportunities.
Panico found it hard to get into the match and twice required treatment after coming off worse in her attempts to win the ball. The action became more intensive after the half-hour mark and France's Séverine Lecoufle put her shot just over the bar.
Splendid close control
Five minutes later some splendid close control from Woock down the right carried her into the area before she laid the ball back to Pichon. France's record scorer lifted her drive disappointingly high, but two minutes later she made amends with a close-range stab to give France the lead after Woock had swept the ball over to the on-rushing Stéphanie Mugneret-Beghe.
Chances for Italy
Italy came on strong at the start of the second half and Tagliacarne was given two good sights of goal in rapid succession, first failing to make a good connection with a low cross and then heading off target.
It was then the Italians' turn to breath a sight of relief as Jezéquel rounded the keeper, only to find Adele Frollami scurrying back to prevent a goal. Manuela Tesse then cleared off the line from Lecoufle. Goalkeeper Giorgia Brenzan beat away a shot from Pichon, but in France's next attack in the 74th minute they increased their lead as Pichon was blocked by Goia Masia and Jezéquel confidently struck home the penalty.
Player of the match: Françoise Jezéquel (France)
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