Euro 2008 Netherlands Vs Italy Highlights video

The Netherlands ended a 30-year wait for a victory over Italy in emphatic fashion as they began their Group C campaign with a rousing 3-0 win against the world champions in Berne.

Ruud van Nistelrooy side-footed the Oranje ahead in the 26th minute, a lead doubled superbly by his Real Madrid CF colleague Wesley Sneijder soon after. Edwin van der Sar, becoming only the third player to appear in four UEFA European Championships, then kept the advantage intact, leaving Giovanni van Bronckhorst to complete the scoring with a headed third in the 79th minute. The Netherlands can now look forward with confidence to Friday's meeting with France, while Italy must pick themselves up from a worst-ever EURO defeat when they face Romania.

Opening goal
Sneijder first fizzed one set-piece in from the left which Marco Materazzi headed clear. Then Rafael van der Vaart did likewise from the right, the scrambling Buffon's punched clearance eventually reaching birthday boy Sneijder whose powerful drive from the corner of the box was side-footed in by Van Nistelrooy as the Azzurri defence appealed for offside. Italy went close to levelling from an inswinging corner five minutes later yet were caught flat-footed in the 31st minute when Van Bronckhorst, who had cleared off the line, was able to charge half the length of the field unchallenged.

1-0 R.van Nistelrooy 26′

Probing Sneijder
The Feyenoord man made the most of the time afforded him, pinging a perfect crossfield ball to Kuyt whose cushioned header was spectacularly hooked inside Buffon's near post by the leaping Sneijder. Italy's three-man midfield of Gennaro Gattuso, Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini could not contain Sneijder as he probed the left side, creating space for Van Bronckhorst. The full-back was able all too easily to dissect an Azzurri back line missing injured captain Fabio Cannavaro with a pass that released Van Nistelrooy on goal. Buffon stood tall, however, clipping the shot over with his feet.

2-0 W.Sneijder 31′

Van der Sar saves
Italy sought a way back into the match after the break. Substitute Alessandro Del Piero failed to profit from two half-chances before Toni lofted a shot over when free on the penalty spot on 76 minutes. Van der Sar then foiled Fabio Grosso at close range before diving at full stretch to keep out a Pirlo free-kick, leaving Van Bronckhorst to wrap things up at the other end following smart work by Kuyt. The last time the Netherlands beat Italy they went on to reach the 1978 FIFA World Cup final – a lucky omen as they look to claim a first European crown since their coach volleyed them to glory in 1988.

3-0 G.van Bronckhorst 79′

Main highlights

Holland Italy (3 - 0 )
26′ R.v. Nistelrooy [1 - 0]
31′ W. Sneijder [2 - 0]
79′ G.v. Bronckhorst [3 - 0]

Match Stats:
shots on target : 8 - 5
shots off target : 5 - 11
possession (%) : 51 - 49
corner kicks : 3 - 5
offsides : 4 - 3
fouls : 16 - 10
yellow cards : 1 - 3
red cards : 0 - 0

Referee: Peter Fröjdfeldt (Sweden)
Attendance: 38,777

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