Tuesday, June 17, 2008

D-Day for Donadoni & Domenech

D-Day for Donadoni & Domenech.
EURO 2008:
France v Italy, Berne
Netherlands v Romania, Zurich

The calculators are out for tonight's Group of Death finale, but suffice to say winner takes all.

A win would send France or Italy through; a victory for Romania against the already-qualified Dutch will send them into the Vienna quarter-final against Spain instead, eliminating both the 2006 World Cup finalists.

It all gets complicated if France and Italy draw and Romania lose, leaving three teams on two points. Here's hoping somebody wins.

My hunch is that Italy will defeat France, but Romania could yet shock a Dutch team with nothing to play for and render the other game meaningless. Both World Cup finalists look ragged, but the French seem more transitional than the Italians and looked more demoralised than the shocked Italians by their own Dutch treat.

Italy tend to come up with the goods when against the wall and should have the quality to edge France. But eyes should rather be focused on Zurich to see how many stars Marco Van Basten is resting. Romania, let us not forget, lead France and Italy by a point and beat the Dutch at home in qualifying.

* * *


*UEFA will bag a profit of 700 million Euros from the tournament, which makes me wonder why they need 5,000 volunteers. The governing body's largesse extends to serving 250,000 strawberries to their valuable hospitality guests.

*The Austrian press revealed their team ate a breakfast of muesli (well it is the Alps), fruit and vegetables, wholemeal bread and carrot and orange juice. Later they dined on turkey or zander (fish) fillets followed by a vanilla and strawberry dessert.

*The grass in the eight stadia is cut to a length of 23mm, just under an inch.

* French 'first lady' Carla Bruni is headed for the guillotine after revealing she will be cheering her nation of birth, Italy, and not that of her husband, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, tonight.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

EURO 2008 Quarter-Finals

Croatia v Turkey
Portugal v Germany
Spain v France/Italy/Romania
Netherlands v Sweden/Russia

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