ITA 1-1 ROU - Despite the best efforts of the officials, Italy have managed to keep themselves from being eliminated. After the burocrats declared the opening goal against the Dutch as justified, these match officials flagged the Italians when, under FIFA's own bastardization, Toni was onside. After Mutu pounced on Zambrotta's hash for the opener, the Italians immediately equalized. It might have been fun to see the neurosis build. The officials again tried to hose Italy, via that atrocious penalty call, but Buffon came to the rescue.
In the grand scheme of things, the Italians didn't deserve a better result. The Italian defense
has holes and the Romanians, though only counterattacking, confidently operated in those spots. They forced two other excellent saves from Buffon. This speaks to Italy's lack of quality, as they typically only ask for one of those saves per match from Buffon.
NED 4-1 FRA - This is the combination of Dutch pressure, missed chances and atrocious defending by the collection of Africans playing in the France shirt. Thuram was especially horrid on Robben's goal, destroying the momentum created by Henry's goal. Henry, for his part, bungled a sitter prior to his strike. The referee did them no favors, refusing a hand ball in the box.
Henry must have thought that this was his testimonial, as he was smiling, hugging and schmoozing with all the Dutch in the post match handshakes. I can't understand what could make Henry so happy after he just had is ass handed to him. Personally, I'm not much for post match festivities, certainly not in a competitive match. When I lose, which isn't as often these days, I do my best to keep away from people because I feel like I want to mangle someone.
I was noting this to my match company as it happened and, perfect timing, the cameras cut to a scowling Ribery storming off the field. That's me, after a loss. Ribery's one ugly sumbich, but he is the only one that can go home to his old lady and say that he played.
A lot can still happen in this group, provided the Dutch don't play their match against Romania from the bar.