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Netherlands all over the World Cup champions in shock 3-0 win at Euro 2008

Netherlands all over the World Cup champions in shock 3-0 win at Euro 2008

The Netherlands stunned Italy 3-0 in their European Championship opener Monday, leaving the World Cup champions fighting to avoid elimination from the first round.
Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wesley Sneijder scored in the first half, and standout defender Giovanni van Bronckhorst added the third on a counterattack in the 79th minute to give Italy its most lopsided loss in the history of the tournament.
The Dutch carried several injuries into the match, but the Italians started with nine players over 30 and could not match the Netherlands for creativity and doggedness.
Edwin van der Sar, the 37-year-old Netherlands goalkeeper, produced a stunning save on Andrea Pirlo's free kick to prevent Italy from getting back in the game in the 78th.
Van Nistelrooy's breakthrough goal may have been a disputed offside, deflecting a 20-meter (yard) low shot from Van Bronckhorst past Gianluigi Buffon, but overall the Dutch outplayed the Italians with stunning ease in an electric first half.
The second goal was a perfect counter. Van Bronckhorst first kicked a ball off his own line in a goalmouth scramble and immediately rushed up the left, where he took a long pass from Rafael van der Vaart. The Italians had trouble dragging their aging feet back and were woefully out of position when Van Bronkhost sent a defense-splitting pass to Dirk Kuyt on the right.
The Liverpool player, who only started because of a groin injury to Arjen Robben, headed it perfectly into the path of Sneijder and the midfielder volleyed it past Buffon. There may not be a better goal in the tournament.
The defeat left Italy last in Group C after France and Romania drew 1-1. A defeat against the Romanians could send the Azzurri out by Friday.
The Italians may have had billboards saying "Spremuta d'Orange" _ freshly squeezed orange juice _ but it was a Dutch squeezing which left the Azzurri blue in the face.
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Lineups:
Italy: Gianluigi Buffon, Christian Panucci, Andrea Barzagli, Marco Materazzi (Fabio Grosso, 54), Gianluca Zambrotta, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Massimo Ambrosini, Mauro Camoranesi (Antonio Cassano, 75), Luca Toni, Antonio Di Natale (Alessandro Del Piero, 64).
Netherlands: Edwin van der Sar, Andre Ooijer, Joris Mathijsen, Khalid Boulahrouz (John Heitinga, 76), Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Orlando Engelaar, Nigel de Jong, Dirk Kuyt (Ibrahim Affelay, 81), Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart, Ruud van Nistelrooy (Robin van Persie, 70).


Updated : 2021-05-16 05:59 GMT+08:00