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Italy and France drawn to meet at Euro '08 finals
by Paul Kennedy, December 3rd, 2007 9:15AM
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[EURO 2008 SCHEDULE] There's no getting away from each other.

World Cup 2006 finalists Italy and France were drawn in the same group for the 2008 European Champions finals -- and their coaches saw it coming.

The Azzurri and Bleus will face the Netherlands and Romania in Group C, forming the most difficult of the four groups for next year's finals drawn Sunday at ceremonies in Lucerne.

Italy and France -- and the Netherlands and Romania -- both also met in Euro '08 qualifying.

"We didn't have an easy qualification group and we haven't been lucky here either," said Italy coach Roberto Donadoni. "I had a gut feeling on the way here it would turn out like this."

France coach Raymond Domenech, who had been highly critical of the seedings before the draw, repeated his dissatisfaction, calling then "madness."

For France, the draw is reminiscent of the Euro 2000 draw in which it was placed with the Netherlands, 1998 World Cup quarter finalist Denmark and the Czech Republic, second at Euro 1996. The Bleus managed to overcome that draw to win their group and eventually win the tournament.

Co-hosts Austria and Switzerland will both be underdogs in their groups.

Switzerland will face the Czech Republic, Portugal and Turkey in Group A, while Austria will meet Croatia, Germany and Poland in Group D.

Defending champion Greece will face Spain, Russia and Sweden in Group C. In 2004, Greece also faced Spain and Russia in group play in Portugal.

EURO 2008 SCHEDULE:
Group A
June 7 in Basel
Switzerland vs. Czech Republic
June 7 in Geneva
Portugal vs. Turkey
June 11 in Basel
Switzerland vs. Turkey
June 11 in Geneva
Czech Republic vs. Portugal
June 15 in Basel
Switzerland vs. Portugal
June 15 in Geneva
Turkey vs. Czech Republic

Group B
June 8 in Vienna
Austria vs. Croatia
June 8 in Klagenfurt
Germany vs. Poland
June 12 in Klagenfurt
Croatia vs. Germany
June 12 in Vienna
Austria vs. Poland
June 16 in Klagenfurt
Poland vs. Croatia
June 16 Vienna
Austria vs. Germany

Group C
June 9 in Zurich
Romania vs. France
June 9 in Berne
Netherlands vs. Italy
June 13 in Zurich
Italy vs. Romania
June 13 in Berne
Netherlands vs. France
June 17 in Zurich
France vs. Italy
June 17 in Berne
Netherlands vs. Romania

Group D
June 10 in Innsbruck
Greece vs. Sweden
June 10 in Salzburg
Spain vs. Russia
June 14 in Innsbruck
Greece vs. Russia
June 14 in Salzburg
Sweden vs. Spain
June 18 in Salzburg
Greece vs. Spain
June 18 in Innsbruck
Russia vs. Sweden

Quarterfinals
June in 19 Basel
1. Winner Group A vs. Runner-up Group B
June 20 Vienna
2. Winner Group B vs. Runner-up Group A
June 21 Basel
3. Winner Group C vs. Runner-up Group D
June 22 Vienna
4. Winner Group D vs. Runner-up Group C

Semifinals
June 25 Basel
1. Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2
June 26 Vienna
2. Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4

Final
June 29 in Vienna
Winner SF 1 vs. Winner SF 2

 



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