Italy 1-1 Romania
Romania gave a great boost to their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages from the group of Death when they held world champions Italy to a 1-1 draw in their second group game in Zurich. Things could have easily gone worse for the Italians had Gigi Buffon not stopped Adrian Mutu's second half penalty.
Knowing that defeat would see them packing their bags home, Roberto Donadoni made five changes to the side that lost 1-3 to the Netherlands. Alessandro Del Piero started on the pitch, and also took the captain's armband from Buffon for this game.
Romania went forward more than they did against France, and Buffon had to make saves from Mutu and Gabriel Tamas before half time. Skipper Christian Chivu's freekick took a deflection off Panucci and hit the post. They however lost Matel Radoi in the 25th minute after he collided with team mate Razvan Rat. While Rat could continue playing, Radoi had to be stretchered off, and was replaced by Nicolae Dica. Italy threatened through Toni, Del Piero and Daniele de Rossi, but some desperate Romanian rearguard action prevented them from scoring. Toni's heading ability in particular caused all sorts of problems for Romania. And when Toni did convert Zambrotta's cross, the Norwegian referee disallowed it for offside, despite the fact that both he and Del Piero were onside when the cross was played in.
Romania took the lead when Adrian Mutu took control of Gianluca Zambrotta's poor backheader.The Fiorentina forward slotted past Buffon and the Romanian fans in the stadium erupted. However Italy quickly restored parity, with Christian Panucci managing to touch in Chiellini's header into goal. Late in the game, Panucci nearly turned villain when he brought down Daniel Niculae in the box, but Buffon saved Italy the blushes by denying Mutu. The Fiorentina striker was nearly in tears, but Romania have control over their own fate - should they win against Holland in their last Euro 2008 group game, we can bid adieu to both Italy and France.
Tags: Romania, Italy, Roberto Donadoni, Matel Radoi, Adrian Mutu, Euro 2008