Date: 28th May 2008 at 5:54pm
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As we continue our series whereby we`ve decided to cheer on the Dutch in Euro 2008, well something`s got to keep our attention this summer, we thought we`d spend the next few days looking at the opposition in Group C.

Known as the ‘Group of Death` there is no denying that the Dutch face stiff opposition in the form of Italy, France and Romania.

So where better to start than with the reigning World Cup Winners?

Italy, who will be the Dutch`s first opponents, emerged from a qualifying group that contained Lithuania, France, Scotland, Ukraine, Georgia and the Faroe Islands.

The qualifying group was one of the closest and atone stage the Italians could have been omitted; however, a fine 2-1 at Hampden Park more or less sealed their place in the finals.

During qualification the Italians suffered a 3-1 defeat to France, their only reverse as they followed up their World Cup success, in Germany, with the aim of replicating what the French team d id and win the European Championships two years after their World Cup triumph.

There has though been a change in the managerial role, Marcello Lippi retired after the World Cup triumph to be replaced by Roberto Donadini but the make-up of the Italian side remains very much the same with star names such as – Buffon, Cannavaro, Panucci, Zambrotta, Pirlo, De Rossi, Gattuso and Toni eager to continue the Italian tradition of winning major honours.

Holland play Italy on June 9th, in Berne, and will need to get off to a good start if they are not to be up against it from day one, unfortunately, it could prove to be a tough task and with so much at stake, we just might see this Group C opener, in the ‘Group of Death` finish all square.

Tomorrow, we`ll take a look at France as we continue the build up to Euro 2008 and our infatuation with the free-flowing football the Dutch provide.

 

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