Category: Archive

Soccer Scene Italy too strong for Romania in Euro 2000

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Joe Behan

Italy is in the semifinals of the European Championship for the third time. Two-nil at halftime, with goals from Filippo Inzaghi and Francesco Totti, was enough to seal victory against Romania. The Italians were in so much control that the legendary Gheorghe Hagi was exposed as just another player who was frustrated by a force to be reckoned with. Hagi’s days must be numbered now, but he might want to come back just to wipe clean his latest European sea of red cards. Trying to con the ref with a mistimed dive, Hagi was embarrassed to a sending off and the end of Romania in Euro 2000.

Coach Emeric Ienei’s Romanians were pulling jerseys, too, early on, and it seemed Italy were a step ahead in the preliminary exchanges. In fact, the Romanians were without three first-team players who were suspended. Italy was more than able to handle the jersey tagging and were too experienced to lose sight of their 2000 mission.

In the early stages the pace was frantic and it was like watching an ice hockey match. Anxious Italian support wanted Alessandro Del Piero on the field. Totti didn’t quite get a hold of the ball and play broke down around him. Inzaghi was caught offside a few times, but he did look dangerous. After 20 minutes, the Romanians began to make some cracks in the Iti defense only to shoot the ball way over the bar. Romania goalkeeper Bogdan Stelia was busy but never looked out of place. It was going to take a well-taken strike to beat his presence.

In the 33rd minute, Romania were under pressure in their own box and a lob over the top found Totti unmarked. Controlling the ball with ease the striker put the ball away. Then Hagi broke wide on the right chipped the goalie but woodwork saved the Italians. Just before half time Inzaghi placed his effort just past Stelia making it 2-nil for Italy.

In the second half Romania cut through a few times but an Italian defender always did enough to hinder the shot or through ball. Demetrio Albertini held his own in the middle and filled in flawlessly. His movement of the ball gave Italy stacks of depth behind the ball. Once Italy regained possession, Albertini was either setting the attack up or linking for options. The Italian midfielder consoled Hagi as the little wizard made his disappointing exit. While Albertini is no Hagi, it is Albertini’s simple passing and reading of the game that he relies on most. Hagi, on the other hand, wanted to make that killer pass or move most of the time. It was team effort for Italy versus a highly technical Romanian team led by Hagi. The frustration set in when a brilliant move got Hagi in the box, but he failed to get on the end of the ball. His run was slightly interfered with but he decided to go down way too late and was red carded for unsportsmanlike conduct. With Romania down to 10 men Italy were now strolling and it was time for Del Piero to get a run.

Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo

Subscribe to one of our great value packages.

Most definitely Del boy has lost a few yards so perhaps he was just back from injury. At times he got on the ball and did some great things. He made an effort to get back and defend and he worked hard to close down passing lanes. Italy was coasting into the semis as determination on the Italians faces was all over the field.

By the end of the game the Romanians were depleted and psychologically drained. The cohesiveness of this Italian team controlled the game and smothered the Romanian attack. Italian goalie Francesco Toldo looked impossible to beat and the force Italia keep Euro historical expectations in order with a superior display over Romania

Portugal 2, Turkey 0

Nuno Gomes hit a brace for Portugal in an attacking frenzy that was launched on Turkey. Turkey fly home wondering what hit them from midfield. Arif Erden missed a penalty for Turkey that would have evened things up and from there on in it was Portuguese magic. Luis Figo and Rui Costa were unstoppable and wore down the Turks with smart runs in swift plays.

In the 44th minute, Costa and Figo played a delightful combination and Gomes read the situation all the way to finish the move with a header. Couto was brought down with a few minutes remaining in the first half and the Turks were given a penalty lifeline. A poor strike by Arif made things easy for Portuguese goalie Vítor Baía to save.

Portugal was camped in the Turkish half in the second period. In the 56th minute, Figo was at it again down the right as he broke away to square a superb ball to Gomes for a tap in. It could have been more. Turkey was sent packing to make way for the exciting Portuguese and Figo. This outfit hit maximum points in their group.

Holland 6, Yugoslavia 1

Patrick Kluivert scored three times as Holland thrashed Yugoslavia in Rotterdam on Sunday. The Dutch were on fire from the very start, moving the ball round the field with ease. Edgar Davids had no competition in the middle. Every time a ball needed to be won he was there to win it. The Slavs seem to be intimidated by the whole occasion, the Dutch were unstoppable. Holland’s other goals came from Marc Overmars with two and an own goal from Dejan Govedarica. Yugoslavia’s consolation goal came from Savo Milosevic, his 5th goal in Euro 2000.

The Dutch carnival has well and truly started, they play the Italians in the semifinals. Dino Zoff’s men won’t be as intimidated as the Slavs; they’ve been here before and are confident in their defense. It will be interesting to see a team built on technical skills playing a team who are technically good, but arguably the best tactically.

France 2, Spain 1

France are through to the semifinal after overcoming Spain in a pulsating encounter in Bruges. The only real difference between the sides was one Zinedine Zidane. Zidane, the current World Player of the Year, is in a class by himself. It was Zidane who opened the scoring with a beautifully placed free kick from 30 yards that gave Spanish keeper Canizares no chance.

Spain gave as good as they got. They caused the French back line all kinds of problems and were awarded a penalty for their troubles with Valencia’s Mendieta coolly slotting home for the equalizer. It was an even first half, the French might just have edged in. Just before the break Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira made a strong run into the box, holding off Spain’s challenges to slip the ball to Djork’ff who smashed it home from 12 yards. Spain kept on working hard in the second half. France were willing to sit in and hold on to their lead. All of Spain’s hard work paid off as they were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute. Real Madrid’s Raul stepped up but put it over the bar.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese