So Italy advanced last night after beating 10 man France by a score of 2-0.
Daniele De Rossi was Man of the Match.

He’s awesome.

But Italy? Meh. They looked alright, but considering France lost their best player in Franck Ribery in the 10th minute, and had used up 2 of their subs and were down a man by the half hour mark, you’d have thought Italy could’ve been more convincing. Especially in the last half hour: put out some fresh legs and use all that open space to fill Coupets net with balls.

Not so much.

As it was they were pretty good, hopefully continuing their history of picking up steam, confidence, and form as a tournament advances (see World Cup 2006).

Something important that needs to happen if they want to advance:

Luca Toni needs to start hitting the target. His strike rate has been frankly underwhelming, (the phrase ‘couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn’ comes to mind) but he’s been getting chances, so it could just be a matter of time.

The Dutch are another story entirely. Still awesome. Have been since Game 1.

Their second string (which admittedly included deadly awesome first stringers Van Persie, Robben and Huntelaar) beat up on Romania 2-0. They go into the Quarterfinals with a 3-0 record and a combined scoreline of 9-1. The trophy is theirs to lose.

It was a good thing the Orangies won. Because the Azurri needed that favorable result to advance.

Other notes:

Gattuso and Pirlo are out of the QF match due to an excess of yellow cards. who’ll be in?

My guess: Ambrosini (*fingers crossed) As for the other? Who knows? My hope is for Aquilani or Fab Quags, but expect to see Camoranesi get the nod.

Ambrosini did something rad last night when he came on. Surprised? Me too. Pleasantly so.