ZURICH, Switzerland (AP)â€”Italy advanced to the quarterfinals of the European Championship with a 2-0 win over short-handed France on Tuesday in a rematch of the 2006 World Cup final the Italians also won.
Andrea Pirlo put Italy in front with a penalty kick in the 25th minute after Eric Abidal was red-carded for a foul on Luca Toni, and Daniele De Rossi made it 2-0 with a deflected free kick in the 62nd.
Italy next faces Group D winner Spain on Sunday in Vienna, although it will be without key midfielders Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso after each got his second yellow card of the tournament.
It was Italyâ€™s first win over France without the help of a penalty shootout in 30 years, the last being a 2-1 win at the 1978 World Cup. Italy beat France in a shootout in the 2006 World Cup final and the teams also met twice in qualifying for Euro 2008.
But the Italians still needed help from the Netherlands to be sure of a place in the next round, getting it when the Dutch beat Romania 2-0 in the other Group C match.<
Netherland 2, Romania 0
BERN, Switzerland (AP)â€”Klaas-Jan Huntelaar helped a makeshift Netherlands send Romania out of the tournament.
Huntelaar, the replacement for Ruud van Nistelrooy, killed off much of the suspense hanging over the game by tapping in a cross from Ibrahim Afellay in the 54th minute. Robin van Persie added the other in the 87th with a strong solo effort on left wing against a strangely listless Romania, playing its biggest game in eight years.
Romania never pushed forward with any passion or aggression and depended far too much on a few flashes of brilliance from striker Adrian Mutu.The Dutch proved their second-string lineup is sound and solid, if not sparkling and spectacular, and also helped the Italians advance. Italy had four points for second behind the perfect Dutch in Group C.