Italy's media heaped praise on its national team yesterday following its 2-0 victory over France. "Too beautiful," ran the main headline in La Gazzetta dello Sport, and "Viva la Italia!" in Corriere dello Sport. "The spirit of the World Cup has returned. France is going home, we are moving on and have even begun to look like a team," wrote a columnist in the Corriere. The Italian press also feted the Dutch team, about which rumors swirled ahead of its match with Romania that it would intentionally lose so as to knock both Italy and France out of competition. "Today the Dutch ambassador should be summoned for an official apology over the rumors and the atmosphere ahead of the match. Holland won because of what it is and because of its integrity, and as a result we also won," wrote a columnist for the Gazzetta.
Turkish goalkeeper Volkan Demirel will not play during his team's next two matches after receiving a red card for pushing the Czech Republic's Jan Koller in the 92nd minute of their match on Sunday. Having already made all of the substitutions it was allowed, Turkey switched forward Tuncay Sanli to the goalkeeper's position. The Turks went on to win 3-2 and qualify for the quarterfinals, but Demirel's suspension means they will be without their starting goalie in both that game and the semifinals, should they advance. The Turkish Football Federation was fined 44,000 Swiss francs over Demirel's actions.
Sepp Blatter, the Swiss president of the international soccer governing body FIFA, has struggled to hide his sympathies for the host country during this year's tournament. In an interview with Swiss daily Le Matin, Blatter leveled criticism at Switzerland coach Kobi Kuhn, saying the team should have sacked him after the World Cup. "I told the president of the [Swiss Football] Association at the time that we had come to the end of the road with this coach." He also chided Kuhn for relying on older players and neglecting young or less experienced talent. "How could he have picked [striker] Marco Streller instead of someone faster?" he asked.
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