Italy complete great escape from Group C to semifinal
A penalty from Andrea Pirlo and a deflected long- range shot from Daniele De Rossi helped world champions Italy book their place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 with a 2-0 win over France Tuesday in the Azzurri's final Group C match in Zurich. Pirlo put Italy in front after 25 minutes after Eric Abidal hauled down Luca Toni in the area, for which the French defender saw a straight red card, while De Rossi made it 2-0 on 62 minutes when Thierry Henry deflected his effort past the stranded Gregory Coupet.
France's miserable evening was compounded by the news that midfielder Franck Ribery was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg following an innocuous tussle with Gianluca Zambrotta.
Having suffered heavy defeats at the hands of the Netherlands and drawn with Romania, both Italy and France went into their clash needing a win and also for Romania to fail to beat the already- qualified Dutch in the other group game in Berne.
Marco van Basten's team duly obliged, beating Romania 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie, meaning Italy now meet Spain on Sunday in Vienna for a place in the semi-finals while the Dutch take on Sweden or Russia a day earlier in Basle, the Earth Times reported.