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Do or die for heavyweights Italy and France
June 13, 2008 13:49 IST
Last Updated: June 13, 2008 13:55 IST
World champions Italy [Images] face the unpalatable prospect of being eliminated from Euro 2008 [Images] on Friday while France [Images] could also end the day on the brink of an embarrassingly early exit.
If Italy lose to Romania in their second Group C match in Zurich (2130 IST) and Netherlands beat France in Berne (0015) the Azzurri are out and World Cup runners-up France would be clinging on by their fingertips.
Netherlands top the table with three points followed by France and Romania with one while Italy have none.
While Italy are battling to survive, Marco van Basten's [Images] Dutch side are being widely tipped as possible title winners after their 3-0 drubbing of the world champions on Monday.
Italy need to improve fast and coach Roberto Donadoni is likely to overhaul his team and maybe his formation against Romania, who focused on defence against France.
The French, held 0-0 by Romania, will also be hoping for a better performance and could have captain Patrick Vieira and striker Thierry Henry [Images] back after injury.
The Dutch, by contrast, will be content with a repeat of their display against Italy in order to make sure of a place in the quarter-finals.
On Thursday, Croatia qualified for the last eight with a 2-1 victory over triple champions Germany [Images] in Klagenfurt while Group B rivals Austria and Poland shared a 1-1 draw in Vienna.
Complete Coverage: Euro 2008