France, Italy fight for survival at Euro 2008

ZURICH - On the page or on the pitch, any encounter between France and Italy generates sauna-like temperatures, even more so with the kind of stakes riding on this latest instalment of their rivalry.

ZURICH - On the page or on the pitch, any encounter between France and Italy generates sauna-like temperatures, even more so with the kind of stakes riding on this latest instalment of their rivalry.

Given the old foes' history, there's a delicious drama attached to today's clash in Zurich where one will have the honour of delivering the coup de grace that knocks the other out of Euro 2008.

That is of course providing Romania don't snatch the Group C runners-up spot by beating the already qualified Holland in the other game being played simultaneously in nearby Berne.

That France and Italy were drawn in the same group at all should have come as no surprise as they've proved as inseparable lately as gin and tonic.

Eight years ago France inflicted the first blow when David Trezeguet's golden goal deprived Italy of the Euro 2000 title. The Italians, though, avenged the defeat six years later by denying France a second world title with that 5-3 penalty win at the 2006 World Cup in Berlin.

And now their latest meeting is almost upon them - surely neither manager could have ever conceived a more dramatic script than both teams' very survival at Euro 2008. - Sapa-AFP

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