Italy took advantage of some early mistakes by France to qualify for the Euro 2008 quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory in Group C on Tuesday, aided by the Dutch victory over Romania.
Italy started strong as Luca Toni dragged a shot wide after just four minutes that could have put the Azzurri in front, but France were hard done five minutes later when Franck RibÃƒÂ©ry was forced off with a leg injury.
France would put themselves further behind it in the 25th minute when Eric Abidal was sent off for hauling down Toni in the penalty area, and Andrea Pirlo confidently smashed home from the spot to give Italy a 1-0 lead.
Fabio Grosso almost had a second just before half-time when his free kick was touched onto the post by GrÃƒÂ©gory Coupet, but it was delaying the inevitable.
In the 62nd minute, Daniele De Rossi’s 30-yard free kick took a deflection off of Thierry Henry in the wall and wrong-footed Coupet, icing the game for the Italians.
Roberto Donadoni’s men didn’t come out unscaved though, as they will be without Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso for the quarter-final against Spain after they each picked up their second bookings of the group stage.
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