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.
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.
Guus HIDDINK (AUS)
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.