World champions Italy have to beat Romania on Friday if they are to keep alive their dream of adding the Euro 2008 title to their laurels, claimed fullback Gianluca Zambrotta on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old – who recently signed for AC Milan after two seasons with Barcelona – admitted that following the 3-0 trouncing by the Dutch on Monday nothing less than a win against Romania – who held 2006 World Cup finalists France to a 0-0 draw also on Monday – would do.
“Against Romania it is effectively double or quits,” said Zambrotta, who has won 72 caps for his country.
“It is vital that we give our maximum, to challenge and get to the ball before our opponents.
“The only result that interests us, is victory in what will be a delicate and decisive match.
“By losing the first match 3-0, we have placed ourselves in a real predicament,” added Zambrotta, who established his place in the national side during a superb spell at Juventus but who he left when they were stripped of their Serie A title and relegated for the matchfixing scandal in 2006.
Zambrotta, though, steadfastly stood by his national coach Roberto Donadoni, who was vilified in the press following the Dutch humiliation with one newspaper 'Tuttosport' running a headline 'Ridateci Lippi' ('Give us back Lippi' in reference to bringing back the World Cup winning handler) – admittedly it is a Turin-based paper and Lippi for several years was Juventus coach.
“No-one in the squad has ever thought about having another coach,” said Zambrotta.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with him and we are going to continue to do so.”
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