France sunk as Italy grab lifeline

World champions Italy qualified for the UEFA EURO 2008™ quarter-finals in impressive fashion on Tuesday as they defeated France 2-0 at the Letzigrund Stadion and Romania lost by the same scoreline to the Netherlands.

Pirlo penalty
Romania had begun the evening second in Group C and would have progressed regardless of events in Zurich had they beaten the already-qualified Dutch. But their reverse opened the door to the Azzurri who clinically grabbed the opportunity, inflicting another painful defeat on France and condemning the FIFA World Cup finalists to last place in the section. The game's turning point arrived in the 24th minute when, after fouling Luca Toni, Eric Abidal was sent off and Andrea Pirlo converted the resulting penalty. Daniele De Rossi's second-half strike added gloss to a wonderful evening for Italy, dampened only by the yellow cards for Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso which mean they will miss the quarter-final against Spain on 22 June in Vienna.


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