For many, the Euro 2008 Group C clash between the Netherlands and world champions Italy, will be one of the most attractive in this tournament’s group phase.
The Netherlands will be starting their tournament without Arjen Robben. The winger slash forward suffered a groin injury in training on Saturday and will miss at least the first game.
Ryan Babel, who would have been able to play on Robben’s spot, had already been replaced due to injury ahead of the tournament.
The Italians received a major blow last week as captain Fabio Cannavaro suffered a serious injury and won’t be able to make an appearance at this tournament.
And more bad news initially gave Italy a scare as veteran Cristian Panucci hurt his right knee in training on Friday. But fortunately for him, he will be fit in time for his side’s opening game.
The Netherlands have been having to wait thirty years for a win over Italy. At the 1978 World Cup, the Dutch recorded their last victory over the Azzurri up til now.
As tournament co-hosts of Euro 2000, the Dutch were knocked out in the semi finals in a painful manner. ‘Orange’ missed two penalties in regular time, and stood no chance in the following shoot-out.
In a 2005 friendly, the last time the two teams met, Italy beat their opponents 3-1.
Monday’s match, which is scheduled to start at 20:45 CET at the Stade de Suisse in Bern, will be led by Swedish referee Peter FrÃƒÂ¶jdfeldt helped by Stefan Wittberg and Henrik AndrÃƒÂ©n. Englishman Michael Mullarkey is the fourth official for this game.
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