« Wall Street Consumed By Tiger | RCS Blog Home Page | Catching Up with Obama in the Sports Blogosphere »

Live Blog: Euro 2008, France v. Italy

by Ryan Hudson
bradley.jpg

From For some reason, Euro 2008 switched formats, meaning that both games are now shown at the same time. But that's OK, because there's really only one match to watch today, and that's France against Italy. The two teams met in the 2006 World Cup final, and now they find themselves winless in Euro 2008. Both sides are looking for the win today, and then hoping for some help from the Netherlands, who is taking on Romania at the same time. A desperate, must-have match for two of the best teams in the world? It should be an entertaining 90 minutes today.

------
4:41pm - That's it for today. By the way, thanks to reader sam85 for explaining why the Euro Championships plays both matches simultaneously:

In 1982...Group 2 saw one of the great World Cup upsets on the first day with the 2-1 victory of Algeria over reigning European Champion West Germany. This memorable game resulted in the controversial match between West Germany and Austria, their third and final match. As Algeria had already played its third match the day before, West Germany and Austria knew that a West German win by 1 or 2 goals would qualify them both, while a larger German victory would qualify Algeria over Austria, and a draw or an Austrian win would eliminate the Germans. The fourth team in the group, Chile, was eliminated regardless of the outcome. After 10 minutes of furious attack, West Germany succeeded in scoring through a goal by Horst Hrubesch. After the goal was scored, the two German-speaking teams went into an unspoken agreement and just kicked the ball around aimlessly for the rest of the match. Chants of "Fuera, fuera" ("Out, out") were screamed by the appalled Spanish crowd, while angry Algerian supporters waved banknotes at the players. This sham performance was widely deplored, even by the German and Austrian fans who had hoped for a hot rematch of the 1978 FIFA World Cup match in which Austria had beaten West Germany. One German fan was so upset by his team's display that he burnt his German flag in disgust. As a result of the outcome, FIFA introduced a revised qualification system at subsequent World Cups in which the final two games in each group were played simultaneously.

See everyone tomorrow for some Group D action.

4:49pm - The Dutch win Group C (something they had locked up before today), and have to be considered the best team so far in Euro 2008. They've won all three of their matches and racked up nine goals, while allowing just one.

4:38pm - It's all over. The Italians have survived and will advance to the quarterfinals as one of the final eight teams.

4:37pm - Not a goal, but a video worth posting. I just can't figure out why the Italians have a reputation of being constant floppers...



Nope...no idea at all...

4:36pm - We're in extra time here, and the Dutch just scored again, making it 2-0 over Romania. It'll be Netherlands and Italy advancing out of the "Group of Death (Group C).

4:34pm - With this match all but over, how big does Buffon's save against Romania now become? He (literally) single-handedly kept Italy's hopes alive in Euro 2008.

4:30pm - Five minutes remain. France will need a Turkey-like finish at this point.

4:26pm - Video from Italy's free-kick, giving them a 2-0 advantage.


4:24pm - Roughly 10 minutes left in regulation in both matches...Italy's chances of advancing are looking better and better.

4:18pm - France is not going away yet. Benzema just bent a shot on goal, but Buffon was able to push it away, diving to get his fingertips on the ball before it crossed the goal line.

4:15pm - We've got about 20 minutes left in regular time in this match, and about the same between Netherlands and Romania, where the score remains 1-0. Things are looking good for the Azzurri.

4:10pm - If the scores remain in both games, it'll be Italy moving on to the round of eight.

4:07pm - GOAL! Another French foul led directly to another goal for the Italians. A free-kick taken by De Rossi deflects off Henry's foot at the end of the wall and angles past the keeper for a rather daunting 2-0 lead.

4:01pm - And it's a goal! But not in this match. The Dutch have taken a 1-0 lead in the 55th minute against Romania. That is great news for the Italians, who still cling to their 1-0 lead here.

3:57pm - Another ground-ball shot from Henry, easily gobbled up by Buffon, the Italian keeper. But the French are doing a great job of applying pressure, especially with just 10 men.

3:54pm - Great chance for the French here in the 50th minute. A cross just missed the right boot of Henry in the box, but then found Benzema, who had a clear path to the net from just out of the box, but his rip sailed high and wide.

3:51pm - Finally, video of France's foul and the Italian PK (spoiler alert: it goes in).


3:50pm - And we're back underway here in the second-half.

3:41pm - Making a sandwich.

3:39pm - Reminder: if Romania wins, they move in. The Italians and French are desperate for three points from the Dutch.

3:37pm - It's at the half between the Dutch and the Romanians, too -- they're in a scoreless tie still, 0-0.

3:35pm - And with that whistle, the first half ends. All in all, a pretty bad 45 minutes for the French: not only do they trail, 1-0, but they lost Ribery to injury and Abidal to a red-card.

3:32pm - In stoppage time now. France continues to hang around, despite playing with just 10 men.

3:29pm - Italy has a great opportunity here for another goal, with a free-kick from just outside the box on the right side...WOW! Grosso's shot bent around the wall, got past the keeper but met the left post instead of the back of the net. So close, for Italy.

3:28pm - Adrian Healey is forced to once again promote tonight's NBA Finals game. Easily my favorite part of Euro 2008.

3:23pm - An Italian foul (shocking!) gives France a free-kick from just outside the box, but it's drilled into the wall. The rebound is fired over the crossbar by Benzema. Henry did not take the free-kick -- interesting.

3:18pm - Good attack there by Henry for the French, but his shot skates by harmlessly on the left. Video of Italy's PK coming.

3:16pm - Toni nearly put the game away for the Italians - his turn-around shot from 10-yards out was pushed just left. It's still 0-0 between Netherlands and Romania, by the way.

3:14pm - Italy is trying to bury the French now. Two near goals in a matter of minutes. The French are struggling to recover from the penalty...

3:11pm - Pirlo to take the PK for the Italians...and he drills it into the upper left-corner. Italy takes early control with a 1-0 lead.

3:10pm - Wow. Great control touch by Italy's Toni...nd a penalty is awarded in the box! France's Abidal was called for the take down and has been sent off with a red card.

3:01pm - A low shot from France goes wide of the goal. The desperation on both sides is pretty evident so far.

2:57pm - Great chance for Italy, as a header from Panucci made its way on net, but a great save keeps it scoreless in the 12th minute.

2:53pm - We're just a bit more than seven minutes into this match, and Ribery is leaving the pitch on the medical cart. That is huge loss for the French side.