Euro 2008 Group Stage Draw – Italy get “Group of Death” with France, Holland, and Romania

 Bloody hell… France again? Are you serious? One thing’s for sure, it is going to be an exciting tournament next summer.

I’ll update this post later with the reactions from Donadoni & Co.
Scroll down for post-draw reactions by Italian coach Roberto Donadoni and Netherlands coach Marco Van Basten.

Group A
Group B
Switzerland   Austria
Czech Republic   Croatia
Portugal   Germany
Turkey   Poland


Group C
Group D
Netherlands   Greece
Italy   Sweden
Romania   Spain
France   Russia


Update 9:07am ET:
While we wait for the Azzurri commentaries, here’s something you might find interesting, the MATCH SCHEDULE for Group C.

The full schedule can be found on the site here (PDF file).

Match Schedule:

June 6
18:00: Romania-France
20:45: Netherlands-Italy

June 13
18:00: Italy-Romania
20:45: Netherlands-France

June 17
20:45: France-Italy
20:45: Netherlands-Romania


In other words, tough tournament opener against Holland, but we’re saving the best for last.

In an ideal scenario, the Azzurri would get 6 points from the first 2 matches and then face France with a guaranteed ticket to the Quarter-Finals. Ideal scenario.

Update 10:30am ET:
POST-DRAW REACTIONS by Roberto Donadoni

Donadoni expected this… he had imagined it. In the Italian coach’s mind (ours as well, mind you), the possibility of the “Group of Death” slowly materialized as the teams were being drawn in Lucerne. The Don’s Azzurri and the Oranje of Marco Van Basten will face off in Euro 2008, but it will be a cordial match between the two managers, two friends that go way back to the AC Milan golden years. Van Basten and Donadoni were all smiles during the press conference following the draw, and the Dutch coach even cracked a few jokes in Italian, forgetting for a moment that the questions had been asked in English or Dutch.


Unlike Raymond Domenech, Mr. “Nice guy”. The French coach had time to make a short comment on the difficulty of the group (four words, FOUR), before a journalist asked him his expectations for an Italy-France rematch without Zidane, but with Materazzi on the field. At which point Domenech tagged the question as “stupid”, got up and left, grumbling something along the lines “these guys really piss me off”. He was followed out the room by the French PR representative, quite visibly upset at the French coach’s attitude. A class act, that guy Domenech…

So, was Domenech scared? The French media say “pretentious”, but one that was undoubtedly scared after the draw was Romanian coach Victor Piturca, who must have thought something along the lines “Dear God oh Lord, where did my team end up”. No matter, Roberto Donadoni cut the commentaries on Domenech’s behaviour short: “It isn’t my place to judge the behaviour of Domenech, I don’t know the way he deals with his emotions. I’ll just say that it will entirely depend be up to us to avoid Italy-France prematch periods full of controversy and bad blood. We will have to walk the walk, not only talk the talk“.

The Don appared to be very relaxed, and not at all worried. At least that’s the impression he gave. “I am leaving Lucerne with a serene mind” said the coach. “There are many bigger problems to get worried about in life. It will be up to us to make certain matches easier to play. I’ll be honest though, we hoped to be slightly more fortunate, but we’ll take the group we’ve been give. I had the feeling we were going to get a tough group, and this will our opportunity to face another hard challenge with a serene mind“.

Regarding facing off with France once again, Donadoni commented: “It doesn’t provoke any particular emotions in me to be honest, past matches with France now belong to the past and don’t count“. Wow… he’s really down-to-Earth the Don, huh?

Update 11:30am ET:

“A really hard group: Netherlands, Italy, France and Romania” was the first question asked to the Dutch national team coach. ”Yeah, what more do you want?” answered Van Basten smiling. “It will be fun. (…) Playing the first match against Italy will be special, it’s always something special to be playing against the Azzurri. In footballing terms, I myself have “grown up” in the Serie A. I know Italy well, they have always had great players, a great football history with many World Cup and European titles, so it will be a difficult challenge. Donadoni? It’s always hard to beat him.”

Marco Van Basten (left) with UEFA president Michel Platini, during the Euro 2008 draw

When asked if he would like one day to manage an Italian team, Van Basten said: “I think we need to take it one step at a time. We have a tournament to play next Summer, so my priorities are preparing the match *against* Italy, then we can think about other things“.

The Dutch manager also talked about the Italy-Netherlands friendly match in program for the month of February: “I don’t know what to say about that one at this time. On the one hand it would be strange to have our two teams face off so close to the tournament, but on the other hand playing against Italy is always great for the show. We’ll see what we decide later on.”

Finally, when a journalist mentioned the video replays shown during the draw ceremony, of Van Basten’s famous goal against Russia in 1984, the Dutch coach blurted out: “Pretty nice huh?:) . Then he added: “It is true there haven’t been many goals scored like that since then, but I hope my team can get to work on it and score a few. I will set up some special training sessions for that” Van Basten joked.

Posted in Azzurri, Euro 2008 |

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  • 19 Responses to “Euro 2008 Group Stage Draw – Italy get “Group of Death” with France, Holland, and Romania”

    1. Alex says:

      oh my god ! my Romania it’s in hell right now ! but maybe we will be the surprise of the group ! :D

    2. fuzzy says:

      My Predictions ->
      Group A: Portugal, Czech Republic
      Group B: Germany, Croatia
      Group C: France, Italy
      Group D: Greece, Spain

    3. Ahmed Bilal says:

      fk … first england drop out, then italy get the group of death.

      spain aren’t going to do much, so who the hell do I support now?

      which team outside Italy’s group (and Spain) has the best-lookin fans?

    4. Liverpool_Fan says:

      Group C is mouth watering when England get the boot i always go for spain so spain it is

    5. Conor says:

      Probably Portugal :D

    6. Frank Lucas American Gangster says:

      To all Romanians… have my sympathy. Next summer your goalkeeper will have to withstand the attacking power of Henry, Van Nistelrooy and Luca Toni…..good luck!

      As for England fans, well our team humiliated us by failing to qualify for next year’s tournament so I propose supporting a country that has a connection with your club.

      Man Utd fans – Portugal (C.Ronaldo, Nani)
      Liverpool fans – Spain ( Rafa, Torres, X.Alonso)
      Chelski fans – Russia (Abramovic, he is your sugar daddy after all!)
      Arsenal fans – France (Wenger plus the club’s long standing connection to French players)

      Everyone else – Poland (most of their population are already in England, so we might as well join the party!)

      MY MAN!

    7. [...] Edit 4:52pm: For post-draw reactions by by Italian coach Roberto Donadoni and Netherlands coach Marco Van Basten, see this post. [...]

    8. RyanJ says:

      My predictions:

      Group A: Czech Republic, Portugal
      Group B: Germany, Poland
      Group C: Italy, Holland (France have had trouble winning against good teams in qualification).
      Group D: Spain, Greece.

    9. mark says:

      I’m so rooting for Romania this tournament now that England’s out.
      ROMANIA ole ole!

    10. Ali says:

      I think Italy will kick France ass again in Group C

      THEY ARE WORLD CHAMPS for God’s Sake

    11. andy says:

      oh my god… netherland in easy gru, the problem just come from france.

      Netherland ease go to next phase.

    12. Andrei says:

      I am going for Romania!! My home country!! And I seriously believe that we will finish in fourth place!! Given that they will not qualify I will root for Holland because that is my secind to England always.

      NB France is openeing against Romania… in 2002, after winning WC1998 and EURO2000 they were beaten by Senegal, the tournament underdogs, 1-0. Hope history repeats itself. And if that happens we can beat Holland and go through to the quarters where we will fail to beat Greece :(

    13. Andrei says:

      Sorry about “root”. Looks like the Canadian enviroment is getting to me, eh? DAMIT!!

      BTW Frank, thanks

    14. Anoos says:

      My predictions:
      Grp A: Portugal, Czech rep.
      Grp B: Croatia, Germany
      Grp C: Holland, Romania (Romania will be underated and i think they will shine through)
      Grp D: Russia, Spain( Russia will beat Spain and Greece and will draw with Sweeden, You just watch Russia is gonna be big in football after this tournament ;) you heard it from me 1st )

    15. Ahmed Bilal says:


      since they won fuckall at Euro 04 and WC 06, maybe they’ll win the first game this time just to prove a point?

    16. Kalifornia says:

      As far as cutest fans after the Italians…based on my experience at WC 2006, I would have to go with Czech>Portugal>Sweden.


    17. Danno says:

      I think Italy will be the hardest obstacle for the Netherlands. But i think the rivalry between Italy and France will land them in a tie for which the Netherlands will take advantage of and at least get into 2nd place.

    18. gustav says:

      France for life!!!
      impossible is nothing…..