Posts Tagged ‘Netherlands’

Azzurri vs. Oranje… Italy’s Euro 2008 Debut is Near

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Exactly 12 hours as I am writing these words people: at 20:45 Central European Time, current World Cup champions Italy will finally enter the stage of Euro 2008. Sharing the arena with them will be none other than one that the Netherlands of Marco Van Basten, one of Italian coach Roberto Donadoni’s old pals from the late 80′s AC Milan glory days.

Group C is as everyone knows, the “Group of Death”, and certainly fate could have picked an easier adversary for the Azzurri to start things up. “The Lord works in mysterious ways” as they say but whether you believe in God or not, certainly history has shown that when faced with strong opposition, the Azzurri have always brought out the best in them. Didn’t Enzo Bearzot’s 1982 team end up with Brazil and Argentina in the second group stage, beating them both to clear a path to the semi-finals and later claim glory, as Italy added a third star above their FIGC logo? Weren’t Arrigo Sacchi’s 1994 boys almost faced with elimination, as they battled it out of a group stage against modest opposition, only to magically redeem themselves in the playoffs when the adversaries really got tough, and losing only to penalties in the unlucky final we all have conveniently put aside in our memories? Finally, didn’t Marcello Lippi’s 2006 group stage also contain some very “tough nuts to crack” that the Azzurri handled brilliantly, with the final glorious outcome we all remember? It is now Roberto Donadoni’s turn…

Trust me my friends, when it comes to the Italian national team, the tougher the opponent the better. Perhaps there is something in our DNA that amplifies our performance whenever we are faced with a difficult challenge. Perhaps Paolo Rossi and Roberto Baggio needed to have that little bit of “extra stimulation”, before they finally turned the engine on and led their team to goalscoring bliss. Perhaps destiny has it written somewhere that the Azzurri don’t like easy matches, that real glory may only be achieved by overcoming difficult odds and that no victory is deserved unless you have to sweat for it. The steeper the hill the higher the effort… but the greater the satisfaction.

And perhaps in a week’s time I will be eating these very words, as Italy come out crashing out of Euro 2008, last in their group without having won a single game or scored a single goal. Perhaps.

But I doubt it… :) Let’s look at the match preview.

Italy

 Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio

I could write pages and pages about the Azzurri’s pre-match preparation, tactics, and so forth. Someone has done it already, and it’s quality stuff. Read all of RomaChris’s work here, and expect him to have a thorough match preview up very soon.

Alternatively (less quality but plenty of useful info), you may read Gazzetta‘s English preview here.

Netherlands

Royal Netherlands Football Association (Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond or KNVB)

Despite Ryan Babel‘s Euro adventure ended without even having started, and that Arjen Robben will most likely have to skip Monday’s match vs. Italy, Netherlands coach Marco Van Basten is not worried. At least not about that.

Donadoni’s a friendsaid Van Basten after Holland’s latest practice session on Sunday, “we have played many games together, first football games and now golf, so I know for a fact that he’s a fighter. He’s got very strong character, and is the type of person that always wanst to win. If he succeeds at making his team play just the way he wants it, it will be very tough for us.” “Italy” added the Oranje coach, “have fantastic experience, played a great qualifying group, and managed to keep the same core group of players that won the World Cup two years ago. We are approaching our match with them with the utmost respect. We believe we will make a good start, but it will not be easy.”

Regarding Robben’s injury, Van Basten said that Holland have often had to play without the Real Madrid’s winger during the qualifying campaign (just like many other players), and always performed well. It must said however, that despite their prestigious pedigree Holland have failed to impress during the road to Euro 2008. Their qualifying campaign saw them arrive behind group leaders Romania by 3 points, and preceding Bulgaria by a hairbreadth. The attacking power of the Oranje has historically always been impressive, but the defense’s a whole other matter, as indicated by the recent friendly matches vs. Denmark and Wales.

Formation-wise, it is likely Van Basten will utilize his trademarked & tested 4-2-3-1 formation: van der Sar in the net, behind a defense composed by (from right to left) Oojier, Heitinga, Mathijsen, and van Bronckhorst. The defensive midfield pair should be de Jong and Engelaar, supporting an offensive line composed of Sneijder, Van der Vaart and Kuyt. Up front, the goalscoring abilities of Ruud van Nistelrooy should give Buffon & friends plenty to think about.

Netherlands vs. Italy, kick-off time 20:45 CET.
As Chris says, “In Donadoni We Trust”.

 

FORZA AZZURRI

 

Euro 2008 Matches & Results

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

Euro 2008 Matches & Results

Euro 2008 kicks off on Saturday 7 June 2008. mCalcio will of course be covering the entire Azzurri progress through the tournament, as well as any major game I fancy writing about (with the quality of teams present, expect plenty of excitement). 

Here’s the full list of Euro 2008 matches: feel free to bookmark this page and share it online. Once the tournament starts, this page will updated daily to post results as well.

All times are CET.

Saturday 7 June 2008
Group
Teams & Kick-Off Time
1
Grp A
Switzerland
0-1
Czech Rep.
2
Grp A
Portugal
2-0
Turkey
.
Sunday 8 June 2008
3
Grp B
Austria
0-1
Croatia
4
Grp B
Germany
2-0
Poland
.
Monday 9 June 2008
5
Grp C
Romania
0-0
France
6
Grp C
Netherlands
3-0
Italy
.
Tuesday 10 June 2008
7
Grp D
Spain
4-1
Russia
8
Grp D
Greece
0-2
Sweden
.
Wednesday 11 June 2008
9
Grp A
Czech Rep.
1-3
Portugal
10
Grp A
Switzerland
1-2
Turkey
.
Thursday 12 June 2008
11
Grp B
Croatia
2-1
Germany
12
Grp B
Austria
1-1
Poland
.
Friday 13 June 2008
13
Grp C
Italy
1-1
Romania
14
Grp C
Netherlands
4-1
France
.
Saturday 14 June 2008
15
Grp D
Sweden
1-2
Spain
16
Grp D
Greece
0-1
Russia
.
Sunday 15 June 2008
17
Grp A
Switzerland
2-0
Portugal
18
Grp A
Turkey
3-2
Czech Rep.
.
Monday 16 June 2008
19
Grp B
Poland
0-1
Croatia
20
Grp B
Austria
0-1
Germany
.
Tuesday 17 June 2008
21
Grp C
Netherlands
2-0
Romania
22
Grp C
France
0-2
Italy
.
Wednesday 18 June 2008
23
Grp D
Greece
1-2
Spain
24
Grp D
Russia
2-0
Sweden
.
.
Thursday 19 June 2008
25
QF
Portugal
2-3
Germany
.
Friday 20 June 2008
26
QF
Croatia
1-1
1-3(p)
Turkey
.
Saturday 21 June 2008
27
QF
Netherlands
1-3
(aet)
Russia
.
Sunday 22 June 2008
28
QF
Spain
0-0
4-2(p)
Italy
.
Wednesday 25 June 2008
29
SF
Germany
3-2
Turkey
.
Thursday 26 June 2008
30
SF
Russia
0-3
Spain
.
Sunday 29 June 2008
31
F
Germany
0-1
Spain

.

.

Group Standings

.

Group A
.
Teams
Pld
+/-
Pts
Euro 2008
Portugal
3
+2
6
Turkey
3
0
6
Czech Republic
3
-2
3
Switzerland
3
0
3
.
.
Group B
.
Teams
Pld
+/-
Pts
Euro 2008
Croatia
3
+3
9
Germany
3
+2
6
Austria
3
-2
1
Poland
3
-3
1
.
.
Group C
.
Teams
Pld
+/-
Pts
Euro 2008
Netherlands
3
+8
9
Italy
3
-1
4
Romania
3
-2
2
France
3
-5
1
.
.
Group D
.
Teams
Pld
+/-
Pts
Euro 2008
Spain
3
+5
9
Russia
3
0
6
Sweden
3
-1
3
Greece
3
-4
0

.

. Key:
Pld
Matches played
+/-
Goal difference
Pts
Points

.