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Italy and Cagliari legend Gigi Riva says that the controversial 2-2 draw between Denmark and Sweden that knocked Italy out of Euro 2004 was fixed.

La Nazionale’s Euro 2008 destiny is out of their own hands going into the final match of the group, and many people believe that this is mainly down to the referees.

The Azzurri have had three big decisions go against them in the competition, with Ruud Van Nistelrooy having an ‘offside’ goal given in the defeat against Holland, and Luca Toni having a valid goal given offside in the draw with Romania.

“We have to beat France. It would be incredible if Holland won against Romania and we didn’t get the full result with the Bleus,” warned FIGC figure Riva.

“We must avoid thinking of ourselves as victims and crying over spilt milk. It would mean going into the game with France giving less than 100 per cent.”

The Italian media believes that there could be a “biscotto”, a fix, during the match between Holland and Romania, as the Dutch may deliberately lose in order to eliminate Italy and France from the tournament.

Riva says that in Euro 2004 the match between Denmark and Sweden was a definite fix. The Nordic neighbours went into their last group game knowing that a draw of 2-2 or higher would see both teams through to the quarter-final at the expense of Italy.  
The game finished 2-2, meaning that the Azzurri were sent packing in hugely controversial circumstances.

“In my time I have seen many biscotti and even cakes, such as the 2-2 draw between Sweden and Denmark in 2004, but also the Czech Republic’s equaliser in the last minute against Russia in 1996 (which also sent Italy out),” explained Riva, before going on to say that he didn’t think Holland would do the same.

“But we have to think about our own game and nothing else. Besides, Marco Van Basten is not just a friend of Roberto Donadoni, but of all Italian football. “I am certain Holland will play their game.

“In Portugal, the situation was different, as Sweden and Denmark were on a similar level and went through together.

“Holland are the best team seen in the competition so far and nobody expected them to put three goals past Italy and four against France. If they sent out the reserves I’d be happier, as they are fresh and hungry to prove themselves.”

Anthony Sormani

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