Watch Italy At Euro 2008 Live
World Champions Italy will aim to become the first team since France in 2000 to hold both the World and European titles at the same time when they travel to Austria and Switzerland to play in the 2008 European Football Championship. When France won Euro 2000, the tournament was co hosted by Belgium and Netherlands, and they beat Italy in the final. This time around, the hosts are Austria and Switzerland and the Italians are in the same group as France, the team they beat to lift the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Interesting way for things to shape up, eh? And you can be sure that millions of people across the world will follow the fortunes of the Azzurri at Euro 2008. If you can't watch it on television, join our 25,000+ strong network for a small price of £9.99 for one year, and watch Italy live at Euro 2008. You also have access to major soccer games from across the world, including the Italian Serie A.
With Marcello Lippi choosing to leave the team after guiding them to the World Cup, Italy appointed Roberto Donadoni as manager. The Azzuri were placed in Group B in qualifying, with France, Scotland and Ukraine being their main rivals in the group. Their only loss in the group came against the French in the first match between the two teams since the 2006 World Cup final. Although the Italians started off slowly, they found their stride as qualifying went on, and eventually finished atop group B, three points clear of France, and five ahead of Scotland. Italy were the fifth team to qualify for Euro 2008.
Here are Italy's group games at Euro 2008 :-
June 9- Netherlands vs Italy in Berne ( 20.45 CEST)
June 13- Italy vs Romania in Zurich ( 18.00 CEST)
June 17- France vs Italy in Zurich ( 20.45 CEST)
CEST- Central European Summer Time ( UTC + 2)
Italy's first appearance at the tournament was in 1968, when they were the hosts. Extra time failed to break the deadlock between them and the USSR in the first semifinal at Naples, and a coin toss was conducted to determine the winner. CSKA's Albert Shesternyov, the USSR skipper, called incorrectly, and the Italians progressed to the final. In the final in Rome, Angelo Domenghini equalised for Italy after Dragan Džajić had given Yugoslavia the lead in the first half. The score remained 1-1 after extra time, and a replay was organised two days later. This time, the Italians won 2-0, with goals from Luigi Riva and Pietro Anastasi.
Italy had to wait for twelve years to make another appearance at the European Football Championship. They failed to qualify for the 1972 and 1976 editions of the tournament, and by virtue of being hosts, qualified for the 1980 edition. A draw against Spain, a 1-0 win over England, and another draw against Belgium saw them finish second in the group behind Belgium. As the group winners made it to the final, the Italians had to make do with a third place playoff game against Czechoslovakia. Penalties were needed to separate the two teams. The first seventeen kicks all found their way in, but Fulvio Collovati missed his to give the Czechs a 9-8 win in the shootout.
In 1988, they reached the semifinals, but lost to the USSR in Stuttgart. They missed Euro' 92, and were knocked out in the first round of Euro '96, finishing below Germany and the Czech Republic in the group stage.
At Euro 2000, Italy beat Turkey, Belgium and Sweden to finish with a 100% win record after the group stage. Romania were dismissed 2-0 in the quarterfinals, and Holland were eliminated on penalties in the semifinals. In the final, Marco Delvecchio gave the Italians the lead, and the score stayed 1-0 as the final whistle drew near. In an amazing comeback, France equalised through Wiltord in the fourth minute of injury time, and in the 103rd minute, David Trezeguet fired one past Francesco Toldo. France won on the golden goal rule, and the Italians were left pondering on what could have been.
Euro 2004 was an extremely disappointing tournament for Italy. Francesco Totti was given a three match ban for spitting at Christian Poulsen in Italy's tournament opener against the Danes. Zlatan Ibrahmovic's late goal saw Sweden pick up a point against the Italians. Despite their 2-1 win over Bulgaria and finishing on the same number of points as the Swedes and the Danes, the Italians were eliminated, as Denmark's 2-2 draw against Sweden meant that both the Scandinavian countries had scored more goals when matches involving all the three teams were taken into account.
Could Alessandro Del Piero get another shot at glory ? The legendary Juventus forward has been in stunning form for the Turin team this season, and Donadoni might consider playing him. Gennaro Gattuso and Andrea Pirlo will be key players in the middle of the park. Gattuso possesses incredible stamina, and the person whom he marks will have a tough time on his hands. Pirlo is a brilliant set piece exponent, and his precise passes, and long range shooting could cause panic in the opposition. Massimo Ambrosini, Simone Perotta and Daniele De Rossi are also equally competent in midfield roles. Real Madrid's Fabio Cannavaro will marshall the defence along with Gianluca Zambrotta, Fabio Grosso and Massimo Oddo. Gianluigi Buffon will be his imposing self in goal. Upfront, Luca Toni will be the key man, with Di Natale, Quaglirella, Camoranesi and others supporting him.
There are some big names in the Italian squad, and if they combine together, they will prove difficult to beat. But can they emulate what Roger Lemerre did with France in Euro 2000? Watch live football with us to find out. It does not get any more exciting than this, and no football fan worth his salt should miss Italy in action at Euro 2008.
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Tags: Italy, Azzurri, Euro 2008, Italy live, Serie A, Roberto Donadoni, Euro 2004, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluigi Buffon, Luca Toni, Watch live football