Friday, June 13, 2008

Game 13: A tale of Two Keepers

Another exciting match took place today when Italy and Romania squared off in Zurich in the 2nd round of matches for Group C. The match got off to a cracking start with Italy dominating the first 12 minutes, barely missing a few early corner kick opportunities. It seemed like nothing would fall for the Azzuri even though they controlled most of the first half. Romania however would create many dangerous chance, picking the proper moments to counter attack. Just before the half Luca Toni looked to have headed home Italy's first goal of the tournament, only to have it questionably disallowed by a shaky offside call. Coming out of the dressing room both sides exchange blows, but Adrian Mutu capitalized off a horrible decision by Zambrotta to half-heartedly head a ball back to Buffon. The Italians struck back quickly when Christian Panucci slammed home the equalizer even the score just 60 seconds after the Mutu goal. The Italians and Romanians continued to have their chances, and all of a sudden in the 80th minute, Panucci gets whistled for an even harsher penalty then yesterday's decision against the Poles. It looks like the Italians got hosed by the ref, but Gianluigi Buffon is able to make a tremendous save, keeping Mutu's PK out of the net, and giving Italy at least a chance to stay alive in the tournament. The match ends in a draw, and both sides are exhausted. The Romanians played well, but were bailed out by excellent goalkeeping from Lobont. Donadoni had a much better starting XI, seeing five changes from the opening debacle against the Dutch. Grosso, Camoranesi, De Rossi, and Del Piero all played excellent for the Italians, and the Italians had much better flow in the midfield with Gattuso and Ambrosini on the bench in favor of a more attacking lineup. The Italians must continue to build on their improvements today, and soundly beat the French on Tuesday in order to make it into the final 8.

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