Tuesday, June 17, 2008

France/Italy running blog

Azzurri - Les Blues! Do or die! The World Cup finalists on the edge of elimination in Euro 2008.

France: Coupet, Clerc, Gallas, Abidal, Evra, Govou, Toulalan,
Makelele, Ribery, Benzema, Henry.
Subs: Mandanda, Frey,
Boumsong, Vieira, Malouda, Anelka, Nasri, Thuram, Squillaci,
Gomis, Sagnol, Diarra.

Italy: Buffon, Zambrotta, Panucci, Chiellini, Grosso, Pirlo,
De Rossi, Gattuso, Toni, Perrotta, Cassano.
Subs: Amelia, De Sanctis, Gamberini, Barzagli, Del Piero, Di Natale,
Borriello, Ambrosini, Quagliarella, Camoranesi, Aquilani,
Referee: Lubos Michel (Slovakia)

Anthems - Still love France's, and most of the players are singing along. Arms are all linked over shoulders. France is in blue, Italy in white, so the Blues won the battle of the blue uni.
1 - Pace begins quickly, with Italy looking far more aggressive than is their norm.
2 - Yet it's France with the first shot - Ribery from distance, deflected for a corner. Ribery takes it and it's cleared out.
3 - France FK, chipped into the box, but cleared out by Italy.
4 - Long ball to Luca Toni, who clears his defender and is at the top of the area with the ball on his foot with only the goalkeeper to beat. He boots it quickly, and it's wide.
6 - Ribery and Henry work together to bring the ball up into Italy's box, but then Ribery's cross flies parallel to goal with no one on the end of it.
8 - Ribery is down and calling for a sub. He was trying to shoulder charge a player, but then he came down badly on his left foot. Big blow for France. Ribery gets stretchered off.
9 - Nasri comes in for Ribery.
10 - Italy FK leads to CK
11 - Panucci header - Makalele knees it off the line!
13 - Hard tackles flying everywhere. The air of desperation is evident.
15 - Benzema from distance with a low, spinning shot that's wide.
18 - Evra fouls Cassano from behind - sees yellow, while Cassano is down for a good while.
19 - Pirlo takes, Coupet punches it out. France on the counter. Henry in the box, but he doesn't get the pass.
22 - Pirlo puts in a dangerous pass - Perrota muffs it, though.
24 - Abidal fouls Toni in the box - Yikes! That's a PK, and Abidal gets sent off for being the last man.
25 - GOAL! Pirlo puts it away. France looks doomed. They seemed in for a bad day since Ribery went down. Of course, if Romania win, it doesn't matter what Italy does. 1-0 Italy.
26 - Boumsong comes in for Nasri as Domenech tries to adjust to the dire situation.
27 - De Rossi shoots high - Italy going for the coup de grace.
29 - Toni with a shot. Wide again, yet France is up against it.
30 - Pirlo pass over the top reaches Toni, but his toe touch goes wide.
31 - France look completely disoriented.
34 - Henry with a chance, but the ball skips wide of the goal.
37 - France with a few attacking plays, but the stout Italian defense holds them off. However, at least Les Blues have snapped out of their shell-shock of misfortune.
38 - Henry earns a FK just to the left of the arc. Benzema and Henry stand over it. Benzema takes it right into the wall and a try off the rebound is way wide.
43 - Bensema with a nifty move on the left loses his defender and sends in a cross - misses Henry.
44 - Italy counter. De Rossi gets fouled by Toulalan, just outside the box. FK is - off the post! Wow. Coupet got a slight touch on it to push it out to the post. On the counter, Pirlo fouls and gets a yellow.
45 - Buffon comes up with the ball off the French FK.
45 + Evra suffers a hard foul, but is back up after a bit. Chellini fouls Henry - gets a yellow. The FK is cleared - last kick of the half.
Halftime - Italy gets help from fate, but also attacked more than is their wont, and looks up to holding the lead.
55 - Holland scored! Italy are in if results hold.
59 - Handball! ref doesn't see it, though, and play goes on.
60 - Coupet out of the box to boot out a ball intended for Toni.
62 - GOAL! Italy FK. It's taken by De Rossi and Henry sticks out his foot from the wall, deflecting the ball past a diving Coupet into the goal. Ouch. 2-0 Italy.
64 - Coupet was going the right way of the original ball trajectory - he'd probably have had the ball if not for Henry changing the direction. He probably wanted to knock it out for a corner, but that didn't happen.
70 - Though Anelka is now in the game, France can't seem to generate any offense.
71 - Cassano is down and spending a lot of time getting sprayed.
73 - For all the build-up, this match is kind of a bust. France got unlucky with the Ribery injury, and things went downhill from there, but it's not as if Italy was dominant. They've been their usual defensive squad, but that's it.
74 - Benzema with a good crack at the ball, but Buffon is up for it and dives to just palm it out.
75 - I guess what I mean is that Italy will happily take the win, but there's no glory in a PK or a deflected FK goal.
77 - Gallas is down after a hard collision. Back up now.
81 - So Italy will meet Spain in the next round, it looks like.
83 - Gattuso comes out for Aquilani.
84 - Coupet another fine save. It's not his fault things turned out the way they have.
85 - Henri sees yellow for a tackle on Zambrotta. Might as well go down fighting, I guess.
87 - Italy corner - taken short, Coupet catches the shot.
90 - France with a couple of last-gasp corners - they come to nothing.
Final whistle. Italy is through.


Anonymous said...

The French are the biggest dissappointments of the tournament. I don't understand why Domenech took off an attacker after the red card when they needed to score two goals. Toulalan and Makelele are essentially doing the same job, why not take one of them off?

Givou was a total waste of space today. He played as if he forgot the purpose of the game is to try and win.

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