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Euro 2008: Matchday Seven (Group C)

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The European Championship’s Group of Death, Group C, is set to kick off its second phase of games today, with Italy desperate to record a win against Romania while France looks to slow down the red-hot Dutch.

Italy faces Romania in the first game (noon, ESPN2) while the Netherlands and France square off in today’s second match (2:30pm, ESPN2).

Italy will be in attack mode, which could make for a fun match. Well at least it would if not for Romania’s plan to defend with numbers behind the ball. Alessandro Del Piero gets the call today to try and crack Romania’s defense.

The Netherlands-France match should be an exciting one. France would prefer a win today but a draw wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. The Netherlands want a win to move a step closer to clinching the Group and potentially avoid a quarterfinal with Spain.

If you will be watching today’s matches, and will be online, please feel free to share your thoughts on both matches in the comments section below.

Enjoy the soccer.

Comments

  1. Good call eric. I was hoping for Evra but either of the Diarras would be a more ideal choice than toulalan. I think Diarras add a little more offense next to Makelele. So, what I’m hearing is that France is playing what I will affectionately call the Bob Bradley tactical lineup?

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  2. Life is good, back from the Salvadoran store on the corner with a big plate of pupusas!

    I think France is foolish (again) for playing Toulalan instead of Diarra.

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  3. true, Pagnucci didn’t go through him, it sure looked like he pulled him back onto him. it may not have actually affected the play, but if you have your arm around someone’s neck and they fall towards you, you are almost always going to get that call.

    it’s obvious the refs have been given instructions to crack down on activity in the box, look at last night’s game.

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  4. The penalty call was soft. Not the worst call I’ve ever seen, but that’s not the point – it was inconsistent with the way penalties have been being called this entire tournament.

    There was contact and there were hands and elbows everywhere, but Panucci didn’t go through the Romanian player with his body too much and got his boot to the ball first. If there had been similarly soft fouls called all tournament, there could be more of an argument, but I would say that 7 or 8 of 10 refs don’t call anything there.

    As I said above, I thought the yellow on De Rossi was a worse call…He took a risk by tackling from a little bit behind, but he hooked his foot around the ball and got to it before he even made any contact with the attacker. It was perfect timing and an absolutely clinical last-gasp tackle. Luckily it didn’t affect the outcome, but it was still irksome.

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  5. No Patrick Vieira for France. Toulalan and Makelele in the midfield. Henry is a lone strike with Ribery providing support, and Malouda and Govou on the wings, and evra is in at left back.

    The Holland lineup looks the identical from the 3-0 defeat of Italy.

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  6. I’m looking for feedback on this one:

    Is is just me, because the more I learn about soccer, the more it seems Tommy Smyth has NO idea what he is talking about?

    Any thoughts?

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  7. 1-1 is the final, and no team has been eliminated from contention. It was an unbelievably entertaining game, with both teams creating a ton of chances, and both keepers making several clutch saves. Luca Toni’s first half goal looked good to me, and the penalty appeared on first glance to be soft, but I’m going to take another look at it.

    France/Netherlands will have a tough time putting on a better display than the match that was just on.

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  8. 90th minute- Cassano attempts to put the ball in from an incredibly acute angle, sending it high, ignoring two teamates in the box.

    92nd minute- Grosso makes a run into the box, but goes down rather easily. I think the soft penalty calls we’ve seen the last couple of days will make that sight a much more familiar one for the rest of the tournament

    93rd minute- De Rossi has a foul call and a yellow card which put Romania in a good position for a shot, which was put over the bar. Soft yellow, in my opinion.

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  9. the PK was not a horrible call, look at the replay again, Panucci clearly has his arm around the Nicolai’s neck, and pulls him down on top of him.

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  10. 85th minute- Camoranesi comes off from Ambrosini.

    87th minute- A cross comes in for Toni who falls down trying to get to it, and a foul call goes against him. Toni appeals for a penalty, but there was nothing in it.

    88th minute- Mutu comes off for Cocis.

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  11. There have been two big calls in this match, and they both appear to have gone incorrectly against the Italians.

    This has been a breathtaking game, and it’s not over yet.

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  12. I am not a fan of the Italian team, but there is poetic justice in Buffon saving that penalty. Again, what a horrible call.

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  13. 79th minute- The keeper comes out to challenge Zambrotta, but misses him. Zambrotta sent a ball across goal that was cleared out for a corner by Romania.

    The corner didn’t come to anything.

    80th minute- De Rossi reacted well to keep a great chance by Romania from coming. There was another poor touch by a defender here.

    Penalty for Romania!!! The referee says Nicolai has been fouled. Dubious in my opinion. Mutu comes to the spot.

    Saved by Buffon!!!!

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  14. The 2nd Italy goal is bound to come soon, they have too much quality in the side to not win this game. Although Romania look pretty good on the break!

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  15. 72nd minute- Del Piero with a clever flick to put the ball into the box, stopped by a good touch from the defense.

    73rd minute- Goian with a yellow card. He will miss the final group match.

    75th minute- Great save by Lobont!!! He stopped a point blank attempt by the Italians.

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  16. Are the people who complained about Italy’s “defensive style” watching this game? You can’t look away for 3 seconds, fast paced, end to end stuff here

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  17. 60th minute- Substitution for Romania, Nicolita in for Petre.

    61st minute- Pirlo picks up a yellow card.

    63rd minute- Del Piero sends a through ball into the box for Toni, who just can’t get onto the end of it.

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  18. 56th minute- I barely finished typing about Mutu’s goal, when Panucci equalized for Italy!! Chiellini headed the ball off of a corner, and it was hammered home by Panucci. Wonderful response from the Italians, who could have folded when going down 1-0 after the disallowed goal at the end of the half.

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  19. Romania had a long free kick, Zambrotta put a terrible touch back to his keeper, which never reached him, and Mutu slotted it past Buffon.

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  20. Mutu with a shot from range, stopped by Buffon in a fairly straightforwad manner.

    55th minute- Adrian Mutu scores! Romania are up 1-0.

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  21. 47th minute- Pirlo kept the ball away from 2 defenders, sending the ball into Luca Toni, but the ball is just off the mark before being put out for a corner, which didn’t amount to anything.

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  22. After watching the first half, I just don’t see Romania keeping a clean sheet although their keeper was ridiculous in the final 10 minutes. Wait, they shouldn’t have a clean sheet because Toni was onside. I hate Italy as much as Brian McBride’s nose does, but I just cannot accept horrible officiating. BTW, Del Piero should have a yellow card for his from behind lunge on the Romanian player who did not even have the ball.

    Mutu looks like he ran a marathon this morning before showing up for the game. He is going to poison the dressing room with some childish rant, or pick up a stupid 2nd yellow in the 2nd half.

    Either way, Romania are going to lose.

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  23. Toni didn’t appear to be offsides. There was another Italian player that was questionable (more or less even with the Romanian defender pushing forward) but he didn’t factor in the play.

    Pretty unlucky for Italy…either they’re going to get the goal they’re long overdue for or they’re going to get frustrated and lose their poise.

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  24. 43rd minute- Mutu with a yellow for a late challenge.

    47th minute- What looks to be a terrible decision on an offsides call robs Italy of a goal on a Luca Toni header. I’d need to see it again, but on first glance it seems to be a lucky Break for the Romanians.

    -Halftime-

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  25. 39th minute- Zambrotta with a perfect ball into Toni, who headed it down to Perrota, who never quite settled it, and a shot was deflected for a corner.

    40th minute- The Italians had 3 corners after that chance, twice forcing the keeper into great saves, and the third left them with another chance to put in a goal. Couldn’t see if the keeper made a save on the last one.

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  26. Italy is getting chances on offense, but Romania has been getting their share on the break as well.

    32nd minute- Del Piero is taken down not far from the penalty area, slightly to the left. Del Piero took it, but blasted it over the net.

    36th minute- The game has settled down in the last couple of minutes.

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  27. I’m baffled as to why Toni hasn’t scored yet. They’re pumping crosses about once every 3 minutes right now…it’s bound to happen eventually.

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  28. 25th minute- Nicolae Dica is the one who will be replacing the injured Radoi.

    26th minute- Grosso puts a good ball into the box, and Del Perio glances the ball off his head, though it went wide.

    27th- Camoranesi puts in a cross, which Toni gets his head onto, but fails to put it on target.

    28th minute- Rat, with a long range shot for Romania which failed to test Buffon.

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  29. 20th minute- Chivu hits the free kick for Romania, it comes off Panucci, and hits the right post! Romania nearly scored, though 2 Romanian players went down after colliding with each other.

    22nd Minute- Midel Radio is being carried off, and it looks like Romania will have to make a change.

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  30. Italians seem really tense, I think the first match messed with their heads a bit. Making a 5-player change in the lineup certainly seems like a nervous reaction.

    The next goal is huge. If Italins score, I think it may get ugly for Romanians. But if the Romanians score on one of their counterattacks (and they are getting damn close), Italy could really implode.

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  31. 18th minute- Buffon made another quality save, diving to his left to save a Romanian free kick that was hit on the ground.

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  32. I love France, but I just wish Domenech would take a look at Bob Bradley and realize that two destroyer midfielders like he had last game is a horrible arrangement. Granted, Viera will have more influence on the offensive side of the ball than Toulalan, but why not pair Viera with Nasri and have Benzema and Henry up top. France has too many good weapons to hold back and play it safe like they did last game.

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  33. The changes Donadoni made to the Italian lineup make this team like night and day. They have ideas today…there will be a goal soon if they keep pumping it into the area.

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  34. 14th minute- Italy has been knocking on the proverbial Romanian door for the last couple of minutes, but do not get a goal.

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  35. Are they labelling this group the Group of Death on official uefa documents too, because it gets thrown around at least 100x more than Group C. I’m sure I’m the only one who cares about this at all, but it’s been beaten into the ground and the stampped into it again.

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