World Cup 2006 News
Last-gasp Totti penalty gives Italy win against Socceroos
Jun 26, 2006, 17:34 GMT
Kaiserslautern - A last-gasp penalty in the final minute of injury time by substitute Francesco Totti gave Italy a 1-0 win over Australia to put them into the quarter-finals of the World Cup Monday.
Italy, down to ten men for most of the second half, face a quarter-final clash in Hamburg on Friday against the winner of Monday's other match between Ukraine and Switzerland.
'I have it in me,' a delighted Totti said of his coolly-taken penalty. 'I just wanted to put it in.' He added that his thumb-in- the-mouth gesture after the strike was for his newly-born son.
Lucas Neill had brought down Fabio Grosso as the two sides appeared to be heading for extra time. Totti, who had been brought on in the 75th minute, slammed the ball into his top left-hand corner, giving no chance to goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
Italian coach Marco Lippi said: 'We weren't afraid of going out because there was always the possibility of extra time. We didn't let them get any real shot in, and we had most of the chances.
'We gave them very little room - and then we had that great chance at the end with the penalty. But the australians played with a lot of heart, and they play really well.'
The penalty capped an encounter that never really caught fire until the final minutes, as the Italian defence held against the Socceroos following Marco Materazzi's 51st-minute sending-off.
The Italians had forced saves off Schwarzer several times during a first half that saw them let the Australians run at their solid defence and wait for their chance on the break.
Schwarzer tipped a 20th-minute Alberto Gilardino effort over the bar, got a desperate foot two minutes later to a shot off danger man Luca Toni after the Fiorentina striker twisted past Vince Grella, then stopped a Toni header in the 34th minute.
By then, the Australians had created their two real chances of the half, a Mark Viduka header off a free kick, and Scott Chipperfield's shot off a loose ball, blocked by Italian keeper Gianluca Buffon.
Coach Marcello Lippi had preferred Alessandro Del Piero to start over Totti as partner to Toni and Gilardino up front, and by the end of the half his side looked in control.
But the Azzurri were down to ten men six minutes into the second half when Materazzi was sent off by Spanish referee Luis Medina Cantalejo.
The Inter Milan defender clattered into the legs of the onrushing Marco Bresciano and was harshly shown the first straight red card of the tournament's knock-out phase.
The Socceroos began making the running, and Buffon was lucky in the 59th minute to have Chipperfield shoot straight at him so he could fist the ball away.
Lippi brought on Totti for Del Piero in the 75th minute as neither team were able to create any further scoring chance, with the lively Toni already substituted after the red card.
Tim Cahill saw his header off a corner go over the bar in the 80th minute as the Australian pressure more than equalled that of Italy's, and coach Guus Hiddink decided shortly after to bring on John Aloisi to revitalise his attack.
A long-range Bresciano left-foot strike in the 84th minute swept just over the Italian bar, Buffon reacted quickly to stop Viduka moments later, then at the other end Vincenzo Iaquinta was foiled by Schwarzer.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur