Italy Trip Through

Fabio Grosso fell over a scrambling Lucas Neill in the box in the final seconds of stoppage time to earn Italy a penalty, which Francisco Totti knocked home to oust the Australians 1-0.

It was another match of quick cards and an undeserved sending off, but the ref had no choice but to give the penalty. Italy held the scrappy Australians even though they were down to 10 men for almost all of the second half after Matarazzi was inexplicably sent off. Actually, with Viduka just standing around on the pitch all day, Australia was playing a man down as well.

The match looked certain to head to extra time. If that happened, it wouldn’t have looked good for the Azzurri. The Australians seemed the more dangerous side, and they were bound to nick one sooner or later. Buffon was up to the task, but the ball would have eventually found the back of the net. It only seemed a matter of time.

Instead, fate swung the other way for the Aussie’s this time. They get nipped at the wire, by a penalty call that the ref had to make. There was never a doubt Totti was going to bury it, and send the Socceroos back to Oz after a fine World Cup.

Gus Hiddink’s Australian side have nothing to hang their heads over. Heart and fire took them further than they had any right to expect. At least, further than I expected. Today, they had one of the best teams in the world on the ropes. One mistake cost them the match.

Italy, ironically, are bound to face a slightly more talented team in the next round, but are sure to have an easier time of it. Whoever wins the Ukraine/Switzerland match won’t match the Aussie’s in pure desire, and Italy matches up well against either side.

One response to “Italy Trip Through”