Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Italy 1-0 Australia

An absorbing, enthralling contest decided by a last minute penalty.

Italy: Played with by far the least possession but did their usual trick of defending expertly, looking to counterattack and sneaking a 1-0 win. Luca Toni was presented with a few chances, none of which he was able to dispatch. Fabio Cannavaro had an immense, immaculate game in defence, and Gattuso gave his usual tigerish display. At times Italy looked rattled though, and could be said to be fortunate. Their last second penalty was debatable. The sending off of Materazzi was probably fair as he was perceived to be the last man. It was far less clearcut however than the incident which should have seen Heinze shown the red against Mexico.

Australia: Didn't take advantage of their one man advantage and their wealth of possession, demonstrating that against top class opposition they lack penetration. Most of the team generally played well, Scott Chipperfield was particularly good, and Viduka again led the line valiantly, but without Harry Kewell they missed one player who can win a game in a moment. Neill may be seen as the villain after it was he who conceded the penalty. Schwarzer had an excellent game, tipping over on a couple of occasions and making one fantastic save with his legs from Toni when it appeared destined to be a goal.

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