Dutch Driver Nyck de Vries Wins 1st Round of Diriyah Formula E-Prix 2022    Okaz tops Forbes list of most visited news outlets in MENA    Formula E one of key highlights in Diriyah calendar: Inzerillo    Morocco to reopen airspace from Feb. 7    UAE restores flights to five African countries    Share of e-payments reaches 57% in 2021, exceeding FSDP target    New COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia stay above 4,000-mark    A record 9 million need food assistance in northern Ethiopia    Arab Coalition: Saada prison was not targeted, facts will be provided    UNICEF providing aid for children caught up in Syria prison siege    8 facts you need to know about Saudi Arabia's Founding Day    Formula E racing champions at Diriyah Gate to kick off season opener    Saudi Arabia take step closer to World Cup 2022    Al-Attiyah leads after opening super special stage of Oman Rally    Crown Prince to attend 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony    Arab Parliament Condemns Bombing of Baghdad Airport As Threat to Stability of Iraq    UK Condemns Houthi Attack on UAE    Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Receives Phone call From His Nepalese Counterpart    Global stocks mixed    "Mawhiba" to Announce Results of First Edition of the "Gifted Arabs" Initiative    KSrelief Distributes 728 Winter Bags in Marib Governorate, Yemen    KSrelief Performs 104 Surgeries within Voluntary Medical Campaign to Combat Blindness in Chad    Secretary General of Palestinian National Commission for Education Praises Saudi Support for Palestinian Educational, Cultural and Scientific Sectors    Stellar speaker line-up at Leap conference in Riyadh    Tata Group takes over India's loss-making national carrier    Saudi Stock Exchange Main Index Ends Trading Lower at 12,179 Points    'Orange is the New Black' actress Kathryn Kates dead at 73    RCU launches direct flights from Paris to AlUla    Saudi Stock Market Index Ends High At 12,182 Points    Public Investment Fund Launches "Savvy Gaming Group"    Diriyah E-Prix 2-Time Champion Sam Bird Sets His Sight on More Triumph in 2022 Diriyah E-Prix    Royal Commission in Yanbu Achieves Arab Award for Operation and Maintenance    Sir Elton John postpones US shows after positive Covid-19 test    Bollywood's Shilpa Shetty cleared of obscenity over Richard Gere kiss    Taylor Swift slams Damon Albarn over songwriting comments    Omani National Football Team Arrives in Jeddah to Meet Saudi National Team    Eighth Season of ABB FIA Formula E World Championship to kick off in Diriyah    Riyadh's Qualitative Events Enrich its Winter, Attract World Attention    SFDA: Fat is a Source of Energy and Its Abundance is Linked to Chronic Diseases    Reflections on celebration of Christmas    Royal Commission for AlUla to Hold Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup 2022, Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo    Saudi Arabia's Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai Organizes a Dance Theatrical Show for Children    Saudi Arabia rebuffs UN resolution on 'sexual orientation'    Kabir Khan eyes on joint Indian – Saudi film projects    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers at Arafat Holy Site    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in Arafat Holy Site    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Italy and France renew rivalry
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 06 - 06 - 2008

World Cup holder Italy and beaten finalist France will renew hostilities in the toughest group of Euro 2008.
The Netherlands and Romania, neither to be taken lightly, complete a Group C that will finish with at least one former European champion on the tournament scrapheap.
Italy, which opens on Monday against the Dutch in Berne, is without World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro, who was ruled out of the championship by an ankle injury sustained in their first training session after arriving in Austria.
Despite the loss of defender Cannavaro, Italy has outstanding players across the pitch, from the intimidating Gianluigi Buffon in goal to the towering Luca Toni up front. “It will not be easy to repeat what we did (in the World Cup) in Germany but definitely we all have a great will to try again,” Buffon told reporters.
“The group is difficult. We are calm and respect everyone. If Holland and France have tradition, Romania have strong players. Even that won't be an easy match.”
That view was shared by France coach Raymond Domenech. “When I saw the draw I told myself it couldn't have been worse; which doesn't mean we can't live with it,” Domenech said.
France will want revenge for the 2006 World Cup final defeat by Italy on penalties which featured Zinedine Zidane's infamous head-butt on Marco Materazzi.
Zidane retired after the tournament but France has no shortage of quality without him. Forward Thierry Henry, winger Franck Ribery and young striker Karim Benzema all have the profile of a defender's worst nightmare. France fans will also have happier memories of beating Italy in the final of Euro 2000.
More recently Italy and France were drawn in the same Euro 2008 qualifying group, with Les Bleus winning 3-1 in Paris before holding Italy to a 0-0 draw in Milan, a game for which Domenech was suspended for inappropriate remarks.
Domenech had accused Italy of bribing the referee of an under-21 international against France in 1999.
Despite the squabbling France admire Italy and became a force to be reckoned with after copying their neighbors' tactical, defensive approach.
It was in Serie A that Zidane and Didier Deschamps, their 1998 World Cup-winning captain, added a new dimension to their game and to France's.
The two Latin rivals meet in Zurich on June 17 for their final group game, a potentially decisive encounter.
Romania, which qualified in style to end a run of absence from the last three major tournaments, has plenty of talent and a dangerous marksman in Adrian Mutu.
“Romania have the fourth-best chance of going through but this could be an advantage,” said its coach Victor Piturca, aware Italy and France should be locked in a three-way battle with the Dutch.
On paper the Netherlands have real firepower up front with Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart, Arjen Robben and Dirk Kuyt.
Coach Marco van Basten, remembered for scoring with a splendid volley in the victory over the former Soviet Union in the Euro 1988 final, must now turn a collection of brilliant individuals into a team. – Reuters __

Clic here to read the story from its source.