EURO 2008: Italy vs. Netherlands (Running Commentary)

EURO 2008: Italy vs. Netherlands (Running Commentary)

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EURO 2008: Italy vs. Netherlands (Running Commentary)

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Luca_toni_ap Ruud_van_nistelrooy_ap

Good afternoon folks. The first high-profile match of the European Championships is set to kickoff with Italy facing the Netherlands in Group C action.

Both teams come into the match dealing with injury issues. Italy lost Fabio Cannavaro while the Dutch lost Ryan Babel and will be without Arjen Robben for this match.

Two of the best goalkeepers in the world square off as Gianluigi Buffon and Edwin Van Der Sar match skills. They should both be tested by some talented forwards in Italy’s Luca Toni and the Netherlands’ Ruud van Nistelrooy.

I will be providing running commentary on the match so feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions on the match in the comments section below.

Enjoy the match.

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FINAL- That’s all from me today. Thanks for following along on the commentary.

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FINAL- NETHERLANDS 3, ITALY 0. The Dutch dominate, the Italians struggle and the Group of Death has been shaken to its core. Between this and the France-Romania tie, things in Group C have gotten VERY interesting, as we expected.

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92nd minute- This one is all but over as Italy doesn’t look likely to find a consolation goal.

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86th minute- So what lineup changes can we expect from Italy for game two against Romania? Give me Del Piero and De Rossi for Pirlo and Ambrosini or Gattuso.

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81st minute- Italy came inches away from pulling back to 2-1 and just seconds later it’s 3-0 and over. Great stuff from the Dutch today.

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80th minute- Another great counterattack from the Dutch. Pirlo has a beautiful free kick saved by a great Van Der Sar save and the Dutch break out on the counter. Buffon makes his own wonderful save, but the rebound sets up van Brockhort’s header. Netherlands 3, Italy 0. WOW.

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79th minute- GOAL NETHERLANDS. VAN BROCKHORTS!!!!! WOW

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78th minute- SAVE VAN DER SAR. Fabio Grosso breaks in on goal and sends a close-range shot at goal but VDS makes the save. WOW

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76th minute- Toni wastes a wide open look, he rushed a chip with Van Der Sar running at him. GREAT pass from Cassano. What a waste. That was probably it for Italy.

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75th minute- The linesman blows a bad offside call against the Dutch, could have led to a goal there.

Cassano on for Ambrosini.

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74th minute- Good point by the ESPN guys. How does Daniele DeRossi not start for Italy? The AC Milan trio just look a step slow and DeRossi is an animal.

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73rd minute- Antonio Cassano is coming in. I like his inclusion.

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71st minute- Robin Van Persie in for van Nistelrooy. Interesting sub.

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70th minute- Del Piero misses a great chance there. Wow. That’s as good as it has been for Italy all day.

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69th minute- Dutch with a long-range free kick. Let’s see what this will be.

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65th minute- A two-goal deficit is a steep hill to climb but we must remember that goal difference will matter in Group C so even one goal back will help Italy here.

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64th minute- Pirlo’s free kick goes for goal but he sends it wide.

Here comes Del Piero.

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62nd minute- Gattuso got lucky not to get a second yellow card, his sly smile at the ref said it all.

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57th minute- Better from Italy now as they have started to control possession. The Dutch look to be slowing down.

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55th minute- Fabio Grosso is in for Materazzi, looks like we’ll see a 3-5-2 from Italy now. Not sure if that will help the attack enough.

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54th minute- Zambrotta sends a dangerous ball in, but the angle on his shot is too sharp. When will we see Alessandro Del Piero?

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52nd minute- Still waiting for something tangible in the Italian attack. Nothing much from a team losing by two goals. The Dutch is still attacking and don’t look likely to blow this lead.

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47th minute- Italy starts out with a half chance but nothing comes of the possession or corner kick.

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46th minute-  And we are back.

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HALFTIME- Netherlands 2, Italy 0. The Dutch are dominating and Italy looks nothing like World Cup champions.

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45th minute- Wow, DiNatale came close with a blast, but missed a foot high.

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45th minute- Italy just looks flat out old today. The midfield is being thoroughly outplayed and I’m not sure where Roberto Donadoni will go for inspiration.

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43rd minute- SAVE BUFFON. Van Nistelrooy had a clear look but Buffon makes the crucial save.

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37th minute- I have to admit that the Dutch have come out much sharper and stronger than I would have thought they would come out this tournament. I didn’t have them qualifying in this group but they look poised to win it if this result holds. Quality stuff.

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34th minute- What a beautiful counterattack on the Dutch second goal.

DiNatale forces a great save from Van Der Sar.

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31st minute- GOAL NETHERLANDS!!!!! Wesley Sneijder with the second goal. WOW, what a sequence.

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30th minute- Now the Italians will need attack more than usual, which should hopefully lead to a more entertaining match. They’re looking a bit patient right now. Still plenty of time left.

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28th minute- An Italian defender had gone off the field behind the goal on the Dutch score. Not sure if that somehow
kept Van Nistelrooy on. If not, there was nobody else close to van Nistelrooy.

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26th minute- GOAL NETHERLANDS!!! Ruud van Nistelrooy redirects a long-range shot past Buffon. Looked offside at first look.

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25th minute- The Dutch are pressing, sending two balls into the area and both are dealt with by the Italian defense. The Dutch need to test Buffon with a shot.

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23rd minute- Pirlo wastes a long free kick by striking it too hard and out of bounds.

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21st minute- Italy staying compact and not really pressing the Dutch defense as the Dutch have had more possession so far.

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18th minute- Wow, Van Nistelrooy breaks into the area and stumbles after dodging an on-running Buffon but he can’t get to the ball in time. Nice pass from Kuyt to Ruud.

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15th minute- The Dutch are knocking it around, but not really pressing in the final third.

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13th minute- Toni with a clear header from close but couldn’t get it on frame. Quality build-up from Italy there.

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11th minute- Sneijder’s free kick hits Andre Ooijer in the back. Van Der Vaart follows shortly after with a hard shot but Buffon smothers it.

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10th minute- Van Der Vaart with a beautiful touch past Italy’s midfield but Gattuso takes him down. Van Nistelrooy is taken down by Gattuso a minute later, setting up a dangerous free kick.

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9th minute- There’s a stat. Italy hasn’t lost the opening match of a tournament since losing to Ireland at World Cup ’94. Nice blast from the past with that fact.

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5th minute- Camoranesi with the first dive of the match. Well, it was a foul but he definitely made a meal of it.

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4th minute- Italy looks sharp early, looking like the aggressor to start the match.

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1st minute- And we’re off.

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PRE-GAME- Barzagli gets the call ahead of Chiellini to start. It will be interesting to see how Materazzi does without Cannavaro next to him to give him good cover.

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PRE-GAME– The Italian national anthem has just finished and I couldn’t help but remember that anthem before the USA-Italy World Cup match two years ago. What a game that was. Hopefully this match is half as memorable.

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