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Italy and France share Euro 2008 fate

World Cup champions Italy and runners-up France are facing a must win match to qualify for the quarterfinals of the European football championships.

Italy drew 1-1 with Romania in Zurich on Friday after goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon saved a penalty from Adrian Mutu in the 80th minute to keep his team in the hunt.

Mutu had given Romania the lead in the 55th minute following a defensive mistake by Gianluca Zambrotta. A long free kick by Gabriel Tamas was headed back toward the Italy goal by the defender, but Mutu was there to steal it and send a right-footed shot past Buffon.

It took the Italians only one minute to reply, with Christian Panucci scoring his fourth goal in 55 internationals. Italy could not afford to lose after going down to the Netherlands in their first group match.

France meanwhile suffered a humbling 4-1 loss to the Netherlands at the Stade de Suisse in Bern.

Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie all scored against France, while Thierry Henry made his 45th goal for the French team in the 71st minute.

“Italy was already so beautiful and this is exactly the same,” Sneijder said later. “Super. Italy and France are nothing to laugh at.”

Italy play France in Zurich on Tuesday. The Netherlands have qualified for the quarterfinals.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR