Monday, June 26, 2006

26 June 2006

An injury-time penalty from substitute Francesco Totti took ten-man Italy past Australia and into the last eight of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Kaiserslautern on Monday, 26 June 2006.

Totti, a 75th-minute replacement for Alessandro Del Piero, drove the spot-kick high into the net after Fabio Grosso had gone down under a Lucas Neill challenge just seconds before the final whistle.

Italy had been reduced to ten men following Marco Materazzi's red card five minutes into the second half and at that stage their followers might have feared a repeat of their loss to Guus Hiddink's Korea Republic at this stage four years ago. Instead, Totti's strike leaves the Azzurri looking forward to a quarter-final tie against either Switzerland or Ukraine in Hamburg on Friday.
As for Hiddink's Australia team, they can head for home proud of their performance in Germany, having reached the Round of 16 on their first outing on the world stage in 32 years.

Coaches' quotes:

Marcello LIPPI (ITA)

We were concerned about their high-tempo game and their tireless running, and because of that, we treated them with a lot of respect. We contained them very well in the first half and carved out three clear chances for ourselves. They had no chances to speak of. After the break, I brought on (Vincenzo) Iaquinta to speed things up a bit, but then we went down to ten men.
After that, the quality of our organisation and our spirit saw us through. We passed the ball well out of defence. Then at the end (Fabio) Grosso was superb and (Francesco) Totti perfect in tucking away the penalty. Let's hope that gives him a lift. He had trouble lasting the distance against the Czechs, and that's why I gave him a breather today. I intended bringing him on when the match had settled down and that's what I did.


I’m very disappointed with the loss, coming as it did as a result of a last-gasp goal, but I'm very proud of the way my players performed throughout the tournament and particularly against Italy. We started off saying to ourselves that we wanted to avoid penalty-kicks, but as things unfolded we would have taken them.
We wanted to play attractive, spectacular football, and we did. But in contrast to the Italians, we weren’t lethal enough in front of goal. The team tried their hardest and we can have no regrets.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

17 June 2006

Italy moved a point clear at the top of Group E after drawing 1-1 with the USA in an incident-filled match in Kaiserslautern on Saturday, 17 June 2006.

Alberto Gilardino headed Italy into a 22nd-minute lead but their lead last only five minutes until Christian Zaccardo turned the ball into his own net.

That was the end of the scoring but a minute later the Azzurri lost Daniele De Rossi to the first of three red cards.

The USA's Pablo Mastroeni then saw red in the 45th minute and Eddie Pope followed suit two minutes into the second half. The result left both sides in contention before their final games, with Italy top on four points and the USA bottom with one.

Here is some of the Players' quotes:


I’m disappointed because we didn’t play as well as we did against Ghana. On a personal level the last thing I needed was an injury because my form has been good. I have my club Roma to thank for that. I took a knock on the backside and had to grit my teeth just to stay on the pitch. We’ll see what the situation is tomorrow.

Gianluigi BUFFON (ITA)

For us, the knockout stages of the tournament start with the next game against the Czech Republic. You can blame my old friend Pavel Nedved and the rest of his team for losing to Ghana.


It was a very strange match. It’s obviously disappointing to only draw when you have ten men against nine for the whole of the second half. I don’t know if it was down to tiredness as Marcello Lippi suggested. What I do know is that when you set out to do something and you don’t achieve it you are always looking for reasons why and fatigue may be one of them. The feeling in the camp is good and regardless of the final outcome it has been a positive experience.

Alessandro NESTA (ITA)

I was urging my team-mates on in the fist period because the USA were on top. I remember one incident when we couldn’t clear the ball and I fouled one of their players on the edge of the penalty area. We didn’t play as well as we can, indeed we played badly. We haven’t talked about it with the manager yet.

Andrea PIRLO (ITA)

It was a hard game tonight; we ran our socks off. I’m not interested in the results of other teams, we play to win. Landon Donovan was everywhere for the Americans tonight. De Rossi says he caught the player accidentally. They were very aggressive and the two red cards confirm that. We created a few chances but we didn’t manage to score.


I was all set to come on at the end of the first half. The game then changed suddenly with the USA’s first sending off and the manager decided to do something else.

Eddie POPE (USA)

I didn’t agree with the dismissal of my team-mate Pablo Mastroeni, but I’m happy with the result. We can now approach the last match against Ghana knowing we have a chance to qualify, which seemed like a distant hope before tonight.