That was an exciting game. We saw more chances, in total and on both sides, than we have seen in any one other game. It was tactical at times and end to end at others. As tall as Toni is, if he were a couple of inches taller or his legs were a few inches longer, he would have had a hat trick. He was so close on a handful of chances – and the one he scored at the end of the first half was wrongfully denied on a bad offside call. Brilliant save by Lobont on De Rossi’s header. Unbelievable penalty save by Buffon off Mutu. Great finish by Mutu on Romania’s first goal. The back four of Romania played quite well at the end of the day.
The coaches need to be commended as well. Donadoni was brave in making as many changes as he did. I would have put in Aquilani instead of Perrotta, but all in all it was a good lineup. I actually thought that Cassano was more effective than Del Piero when he came on. Romania also played a good game and had a ton of chances that would have made them winners if they were facing another goalie.
Both teams are alive. If Italy beats France, they will go through if Romania doesn’t beat Holland and Holland gets a point off France. Lots of permutations, so Buffon’s save was huge. Players of the game for the two teams were Buffon for Italy and Mutu (in spite of the penalty miss) for Romania. It’s tough to toil out there by yourself and he took the chance off Zambrotta’s mistake brilliantly.
Pre-game prediction: Italy 1 Romania 0
Result: Italy 1 Romania 1
Scorers: Adrian Mutu (Romania) Christian Panucci (Italy)
On to the Oranje and Les Blues…