Netherlands vs Italy
Monday, 9th June at 20.45
Let's hope that the Dutch and Italians didn't watch
the earlier Romania vs France match, or they would have
probably fallen asleep.
The Group C match in Berne started much better than the bore draw in
Zurich, as both Holland and 2006
World Cup winners Italy showed their early attacking intentions.
The best chance fell to Ruud van Nistelrooy, with a little over
fifteen minutes gone, as he ran on to a swift Dirk Kuyt through-ball and tried to round
The out-rushing Italian goalkeeper forced van Nistelrooy to double-check
his stride and almost stumble.
Van Nistelrooy went one better ten minutes later though, after
Gianluigi Buffon punched out a corner. Wesley Sneijder fired the ball back towards the
goal and van Nistelrooy (standing in an offside position) deflected the shot into the net,
took a quick glance at the linesman then - as the flag stayed down - turned and ran back
up the pitch in excitement.
Luca Toni was booked for protesting, even though he was clearly in the
Five minutes later Sneijder got his own name on the scoresheet,
turning in a header from Dirk Kuyt; after a snap breakaway, instigated by Giovanni Van
Bronckhorst's goal-line clearance and mad dash down the left wing.
Just before half-time, van Nistelrooy had the chance to finish the
game off, but the sprawling Buffon saved the shot - with his outstretched leg.
The start of the second-half continued in much the same vein as the
ifrst, but without the goals.
Luca Toni's best chance came with fifteen minutes to go, but in trying
to lift the ball over Edwin Van der Sar, the Italian scooped it too high.
Then Edwin Van der Sar made an important save that resulted in another
awesome counter-attack from the Dutch.
Buffon rushed out to save Dirk Kuyt's attempt to make it three, but
was caught off foot when Giovanni Van Bronckhorst rose to head home the ensuing cross;
between the goalkeeper and a sliding Gianluca Zambrotta.
Holland's work rate and fast passing moves has been the difference
between the teams. They can be forgiven for trying to slow the game down in the last
minutes of injury time.
Netherlands 3 - Italy 0
1:0 Ruud van Nistelrooy (26)
2:0 Wesley Sneijder (31)
3:0 Giovanni Van Bronckhorst (79)
1 Edwin Van der Sar; 5 Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, 4 Joris Mathijsen, 2 Andre Ooijer, 21
Khalid Boulahrouz; 23 Rafael Van der Vaart, 8 Orlando Engelaar, 17 Nigel De Jong, 10
Wesley Sneijder; 9 Ruud van Nistelrooy, 18 Dirk Kuyt.
1 Gianluigi Buffon; 23 Marco Materazzi, 2 Christian Panucci, 19 Gianluca Zambrotta, 6
Andrea Barzagli; 8 Gennaro Gattuso, 21 Andrea Pirlo, 16 Mauro German Camoranesi, 13
Massimo Ambrosini; 9 Luca Toni, 11 Antonio Di Natale.
Peter Frojdfeldt (Sweden)
54 Mins - 3 Fabio Grosso on for 23 Marco Materazzi
64 Mins - 7 Alessandro Del Piero on for 11 Antonio Di Natale
70 Mins - 7 Robin van Persie on for 9 Ruud van Nistelrooy
75 Mins - 18 Antonio Cassano on for 16 Mauro German Camoranesi
76 Mins - 3 Johnny Heitinga on for 21 Khalid Boulahrouz
81 Mins - 20 Ibrahim Afellay on for 18 Dirk Kuyt
4 Yellow Cards:
26 Mins - Luca Toni (Italy)
35 Mins - Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy)
51 Mins - Gennaro Gattuso (Italy)
59 Mins - Nigel De Jong (Netherlands)
Romania vs France