Euro 2008 Today
VIENNA, Austria (AP)—A look at Day 11 of the 2008 European Championship on Tuesday:
Netherlands 2, Romania 0 (Netherlands wins Group C, Romania eliminated)
Italy 2, France 0 (Italy advances to quarterfinals, France eliminated)
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 as Italy took second spot in Group C by beating France. The Italians will play Spain in the quarterfinals Sunday in Vienna.
The Netherlands used mostly backups, yet beat Romania 2-0, finishing with a perfect nine points in Group C and eliminating the Romanians. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie, a rare regular who played for the Dutch on Tuesday night, scored the goals.
Italy striker Luca Toni was a constant threat against France and, although he didn’t score himself, Toni set up Andrea Pirlo’s penalty kick for the first goal of a 2-0 victory. Pirlo barely missed on several chances of his own.
Usual starter Robin van Persie, playing mostly with substitutes as he tries to reach top form after an injured thigh, scored in the 87th minute with a strong solo effort on left wing in a 2-0 win over Romania that kept the Dutch perfect in Group C.
France lost forward Franck Ribery early in a 2-0 loss to Italy with a leg injury. Ribery was carted directly off the field and into the tunnel and coach Raymond Domenech said he believed Ribery hurt his knee.
A 2-0 victory at Zurich was Italy’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. The French won 3-1 in Paris and the teams drew 0-0 in Milan.
GOAL OF THE DAY
Daniele De Rossi’s 25-yard free kick deflected off France striker Thierry Henry in the wall and changed direction, eluding goalkeeper Gregory Coupet to give Italy the clinching goal in a 2-0 victory that sent the Azzurri to the quarterfinals.
The opening round concludes with Group D, where Spain already has clinched first place. Sweden and Russia meet in Innsbruck, Austria for second place in the group, while the Spaniards play already-eliminated Greece, the 2004 champion, at Salzburg.
“This was a great response from the entire team. Our enthusiasm and spirit pushed us forward, even when it all seemed lost at one point.”—Italy coach Roberto Donadoni after the world champions advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over France.