Tag: Romania

Au Revoir

Farewell then, France. Last night had been an evening that promised to hit a crescendo of tension, excitement and drama, but in the event the evening in Zurich all went off like a firework display in a monsoon, with a French selection and performance that gave Italy a relatively comfortable ride through to the quarter-finals, whilst in Berne the Dutch comfortably found a way past a Romania side which, three games in, finally showed up the shortcomings that many had suspected would lead to them being one of the tournament’s lame ducks before so much as a ball was kicked. France’s failure against Italy can be best summed up by twenty-five minutes of misfortune, tempestuousness and incompetence. They lost Franck Ribery, the creative spark that has lit up their midfield at this tournament and frequently looked like the only player capable of carrying them through the group stages to injury after just seven minutes. His replacement, Sami Nasri, would last just nineteen minutes before suffering the ultimate indignity of the substitute – being substituted himself, to be replaced by Jean-Alain Boumsong. The reason for the subsitution was plain enough – a couple of minutes beforehand, Abidal had managed to get himself in a pickle over the sight of Luca Toni bearing down on Gregory Coupet’s goal. His foul was a clear red card and penalty, which Andrea Pirlo dispatched...

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Italy 1-1 Romania

I’ve never been to Italy. I have, however, from a young age formed a view on Italian fashion that was largely shaped by the film “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”. In said film, the central characters, the Griswold family (with Chevy Chase as the patriarch) travel across Europe, getting into a variety of “scrapes”, one of which involves them losing their luggage on the way to Italy. Their insurance, of course, covers the cost of this lost luggage, so they go to a number of boutiques in Rome (cue a montage of cut-aways of them in clothes of varying degrees of awfulness) before coming out looking like the 1980s Euro-fashion dream. Well, more or less half-way between robots and pimps, to be more accurate. I have, at various points throughout my adult life, wondered whether Italians actually dressed like that, and I’m a little clearer on it now. Upon seeing Gianluigi Buffon’s black bandana close up this evening, I’m starting to think that, yes, there are probably some Italians that do dress like the Griswolds did in “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”. What’s the deal with that bandana, then? He looks as if he’s planning to go on “Stars In Their Eyes” as Kevin Rowlands from Dexy’s Midnight Runners. But I digress. Italy vs Romania was another splendid match from a tournament which, after a slow start, is starting to turn...

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France 0-0 Romania

France, as the BBC’s commentator Steve Wilson said as the final whistle went, are in trouble. True enough, but we were all in trouble this afternoon, heading home from work as quickly as possible in order to catch the whole of this afternoon’s match between France & Romania. It was an absolute stinker. Neither team managed any serious shots on goal and what was so striking about the match was the Romania were so very seldom put under any pressure whatsoever. It felt as if the French either couldn’t really be bothered, didn’t have any confidence or simply believed that all that they had to do was turn up and the three points would eventually, somehow find their way to them. One suspects that there was a little from columns A, B and C at play here, but the biggest single contributing factor seemed to be a lackadaisical attitude – they gave possession away needlessly on many occasions – and the amount of space the Romania had when they did break out of defence. Where did it go so horribly wrong for France, then? It goes without saying that they have never satisfactorily replaced Zinedine Zidane after the 2006 World Cup (how could they have done?), but the lack of creativity in the centre of midfield seems to stifle the rest of the team. There is no room for...

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Euro 2008 – Group C

Every tournament has a Group Of Death, thanks in no small part to the occasionally bizarre seeding system that FIFA and UEFA still use for determining who will end up in which seeding pot, but UEFA have really outdone themselves for Euro 2008, contriving to put Italy, Holland and France in the same group. The Italians and the French, of course, played out the last World Cup final and were also drawn together in the qualifying stages for this very competition (they must be sick of the sight of each other by now), whilst the Dutch don’t seem to be of quite the same vintage as they were in previous competitions, but are still plenty capable of upsetting the apple cart. Feeling somewhat hard done by at all the attention being lavished upon the other three are Romania. It might be stretching things a little bit to expect them seriously challenge in a group in which two of the competitors have to be eliminated, but they’re ranked twelfth in the world by FIFA, and a surprise wouldn’t be completely beyond them. For those of you that don’t believe me, consider what Greece did to the Spanish four years ago or, indeed, what the Czechs did to the Italians at Euro 96. Anyway, let me take off my Grim Reaper outfit, and we’ll have a look at what’s what. Italy...

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