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Italy knocks France out of Euro '08
by Paul Kennedy, June 18th, 2008 7AM
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[ITALY-FRANCE REPORT CARD] Few would have thought that the Group of Death tag given Group C would mean the loser of the Italy-France finale would finish last. But that's what the French did after falling, 2-0, on Wednesday.

The rematch of the 2006 World Cup couldn't have started worse for the Bleus, who lost playmaker Franck Ribery with a knee injury on a clumsy challenge in the 10th minute, and Eric Abidal was sent off in the 24th minute for taking Luca Toni down from behind in the penalty area.

Abidal had replaced French star Lilian Thuram, benched after the 4-1 loss to the Netherlands, along with Willy Sagnol and Florent Malouda.

Andrea Pirlo converted the penalty kick for the first goal, while Daniele De Rossi scored the second goal on a free kick that deflected off French star Thierry Henry's foot.

Soccer America's Paul Kennedy grades the players.

Italy Player Ratings
GRADE PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
7 Gianluigi Buffon
(Juventus) 85/0
6 Fabio Grosso (Lyon) 343/3
6 Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus) 12/1
6 Christian Panucci (Roma) 56/4
6 Gianluca Zambrotta (Barcelona) 74/2
8 Daniele De Rossi (Roma) 35/5
8 Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan) 49/7
6 Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan) 60/1
6 Simone Perrotta (Roma) 42/2
6 Antonio Cassano (Sampdoria) 14/3
6 Luca Toni (Bayern Munich) 37/15
Subs:
5 Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus) 38/4
5 Massimo Ambrosini (AC Milan) 34/0
nr Alberto Aquilani (Roma) 6/0

France Player Ratings
GRADE PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
6 Gregory Coupet (Lyon) 33/0
4 Francois Clerc (Lyon) 13/0
2 Eric Abidal (Barcelona) 37/0
4 William Gallas (Arsenal)  64/2
4 Patrice Evra (Man. United) 13/0
nr Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich) 29/4
4 Claude Makelele (Chelsea)  70/0
5 Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon) 15/0
4 Sidney Govou (Lyon) 34/7
5 Thierry Henry
(Barcelona) 102/45
5 Karim Benzema (Lyon) 13/3
Subs:
nr Samir Nasri (Marseille) 12/2
4 Jean-Alain Boumsong
(Lyon) 24/1
4 Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea) 51/11

(1=low; 5=average; 10=high)


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