Jun 10 2008
Holland 3 – 0 Italy
(Nistelrooy 26, Sneijder 31, Van Bronckhorst 79)
The World Cup Runner’s up suffered a draw, but the World Cup Winners suffered a more humiliating fate. Before the match, i didn’t think the Dutch had enough quality to win the Euro 2008 but the win and there style of play has definitely changed my mind. So good was there attacking and counter attacking play, that the Italians were brushed aside. And with a reliable goal keeper such as Van Der Sar, I am pretty sure that they have won there so called “Group of Death”. And this match might have been the best match so far of the Euro 2008 with Italy, despite there defeat, producing an attacking display. It was Italy who created the first chances with Di Natale’s cross failing to find Luca Toni and a few minutes later, Toni headed wide from a good position. For the Dutch, Van Nistelrooy had a good chance in 17th minute when he collected Kuyt’s pass and tried to round off Buffon. There was a contact but Nistelrooy choose to stand on his feet and missed the chance.
Van Nistelrooy had much better luck in the 26th minute when he gave the Dutch a lead in controversial circumstances from an offside position. But according to the chairman of Austria’s refereeing commission, Gerhard Kapl, that Van Nistelrooy had been played onside by Italy defender Christian Panucci, who had been injured seconds earlier and was lying off the pitch. And the Dutch scored after 5 minutes, what could be “one of the best goal “ of Euro 2008. Italy won the corner and from the corner, Van Bronckhorst made a great clearance on the line, then he raced to attack , got the pass, and crossed it for Kuyt who headed it into the path of Sneijder who produced a neat finish past Buffon to score on his 24th birthday. It was a classic Counter Attacking goal from the Dutch. Nistelrooy had a great opportunity to kill the game three minutes before the interval when he was raced through by Sneijder but Buffon made a wonderful save.
Italy upped the Tempo after the break to try to get back into the game. Del Piero who was brought in place of Di Natale forced Van Der Sar into a smart save. He had another good chance few minutes later but he was off target. Luca Toni wasted one of the best chances for Italy when he lofted the ball over van Der Sar as well as over the bar. Van Der Sar was the hero again as he saved well from a Pirlo free kick and from the resulting play, Dutch got there third goal. The rebound on the save landed to Van Bronckhorst, who raced forward and set up Kuyt. Kuyt’s original effort was blocked by Buffon, but Kuyt got the ball again and crossed for Bronckhorst to head the third goal. It might have been worse for Italy had substitutes Affelay and Van Persie spectacular shots would have found the net. And the Dutch side help don to record a famous victory against Italy since 30 years. A wonderful performance by the Dutch which clearly sends the message that they are a force to be reckoned with.