Round 2: Italy v Australia

Round 2: (Day 18)

ITALY v Australia 

Gianluca Vialli represented Italy, Juventus, Chelsea, Sampdoria and other glamourous clubs as a player, and also managed Chelsea for a short period a few years back…He is/was a true Pro. A gentleman on and off the pitch. I will allow his words to be mine for this part of the preview:(the interviewer was a chap from SBS broadcasting and while the questions re-printed  aren’t verbatim from the original report, the Vialli answers ARE.) 

SO how do you rate our chances, Gianluca?

I am sorry about this you guys ..but I think we are stronger’.-V 

DO Italy have any weaknesses?

‘defensively we have nothing to learn from anybody..We just need Totti to keep improving……… (he)needs to do something special to repay the faith shown in him.’-V 

Have you been impressed with the Aussie spirit?

‘I don’t think football is your best sport….(Hiddink)Fantastic coach….Enthusiasm and spirit….very difficult to beat because you never give up….A TOUGH SIDE TO BEAT BUT WE ARE READY FOR THAT…..   

Who else do you fancy in the tournament??

‘You might not love the germans, but you must admire them…Really nothing new so far….not many surprises……

 A Millione grazie for the interview, Gianluca. I wish you a wonderful evening.

‘A pleasure, pleasure….’ vialli.. 

Shock—del Piero has replaced Totti….that must be Lippi resting Totti, under-estimating the Australians or he is intentionally shielding the roman talisman from the initial aussie onslaught…..wise Lippi….if that is his ploy, it is a master stroke…let del Piero be the punching bag for Lucas Neil and Chipperfield… 

These are…..ahhhh.. …..rather….. key players, and they will be missed..’ -Hiddink 

Nesta is out still for Italy so Materazzi keeps the position he occupied with respectable competence in the last game… 

Kewell and Emerton are out for the Socceroos…Emerton’s stamina and bulk will be sorely missed as will the sporadic brilliance of Harry Kewell….which leaves a mighty job for their team-mates.. 

Kalac has been dropped, thankfully, from an aussie point of view…Schwarzer and Wiltshire come in as does Bresciano………. 

This game pits the masters of defence, and in my view the strongest team in the tournament, against the country where I live and loathe…. 

Luca Toni is back to play up front with del Piero on his left, Gilardino the right…This is a very attacking formation for Italy…defensively we have nothing to learn from anybody’ as Vialli said… 

Buffon, together with King Cannavaro, Matador Matterazzi, Zambrotta and Grosso, constitute the toughest football wall in the contemporary world game. The only way to stop Gattusso from biting ankles is to put him down with a .44 magnum, even then there might be a chance he come straight back at you…Pirlo is the composer of the Italian attacking opera… 

Australia have a weaker team, and will be relying heavily, almost exclusively on the guile of Hiddink’s genius and their renowned fighting spirit. However I don’t think the Aussies necessarily have more spirit than the Italians…ask de Rossi, ask Gattuso, ask Cannavaro…..Passion isn’t a factor that will be decisive in this one because neither team is lacking spunk; all players are snapping at the muzzle, trying desperately to find a victory in which to sink their teeth…

Kewell is fucked…on crutches… 


wiltshire moore neil chipperfield

 cahill bresciano grella culina

Viduka sterjovski 


zambrotta cannavaro matterazzi grosso

perrotta gattusso pirlo

gilardino toni Del Piero

anthem watch–Italians singing loudly…Those oh so blue eyes of Cannavarro…a real charmer… 

Ref- spaniard… 


we are off…. but sbs has lost the pictures…radio commentary only…. 

Weather 23C 

the screen re-appears… 

A game like this calls for Stolyncha... 

3- Chipperfield chips one in, but Cahill’s header is weak… 

4- del Piero finds space down the left flank before crossing deep to find Toni whose header flies inches wide of the post….. 

7- Gilardino battles his way into the area…dispossessed by Neil…selfish of the Italian as he had support waiting nearby… 

Italian fans the loudest…but whistle every time their lads pass the ball back to Buffon. 

Lippi ‘paul newman’ Hiddink ‘the wizard’lucky guus’ 

12- Gilardino again finds space in the box, but his shot is charged down by Chipperfield. Quality block… 

Even game so far but Italy’s teeth look sharper. 

20- Gattuso chips the ball to Toni who lays it off to Gilardino who lets it drop then hits it on the bounce…well saved..corner>>Pirlo>>>dealt with… 

Ref gives a warning to Gattuso for high tackle…

22- Toni turns his man in the area, then shoots with his left..saved brilliantly by Schwarzer’s trailing feet….great save..lucky

23-Grella BOOKED Australia 

24- Bresciano FK…finds Viduka, but the header, though accurate, was weak..he had no space… 

28 YELLOW for Grosso for a sneaky elbow in the guts of Sterjovski… 

30- FK by Bresciano….rebound falls to Chipperfield who hits a half volley straight down the throat of Buffon.. 

34- patient play from
Italy results in another chance for Toni, who heads over from 3 yards out…..

Australia seem to get 6 men always in defence….

42- Moore defends well but puts his boots through Luca Toni….painful looking for the Italian…but it was a fair tackle… 


A tentative first half by both teams with Italy creating the only real goal-scoring opportunities which so far Toni and Gilardino have failed to put in the net…The best player in the pitch is surprisingly Chipperfield who has supported the attack and held stubborn at the back. Considering the differences in history and quality, I would guess
Australia will be far more happy than the Italians, going in half time at 0-0….


SUB ITA Gilardino off for Iaquinta. 

Italy last beaten in regular time— 1986, by the frogs

I am not an admirer of Iaquinta… 

49- Iaquinta down the right, crosses ball in along the floor…Perrotta fluffs his shot then Toni’s effort was lashed over the bar… 

49 Cahill the rat is BOOKED for leading into a challenge with an elbow and catching Materazzi….It isn’t a good idea to get on the wrong side of Materazzi… 

51- Materazzi RED…..for slightly late tackle on Bresciano and Zambrotta… 

Harsh, stupid refereeing. which has now completely changed the game…idiot…possibly ruined
Italy’s chances of getting through…


Gattuso is dropping back into defence but we need a big man in there…. 

No sub yet by Lippi… 

55- Toni, Italy’s biggest threat comes off for Barzagli…(centre-forward for centre-back) 

10 Italians are still technically superior to 11 Aussies but Italy have shown in recent matches that they can lose their heads a bit when life gets crazy…still, a world class team can rise above adversity… 

59- Chipperfield is found in the area, he shoots hard, but straight at Buffon who saves with ease and assurance… 

61 YELLOW for Wiltshire after he took a hack at del Piero’s ankles… 

64- Gattusso wins the ball with typical tenacity then looks for an unmarked del Piero in the box, but the pass is too long…great chance…. 

6- FK Pirlo…35 yards out…slightly to the Italian left…>>>shoots..great was creeping under the bar///corner>>Pirlo>defended… 

The last plausible sub for
Italy is Totti..who will come on for del Piero if the game stays as it is…

Grosso getting forward well for the Italians. 

If this game goes to penalties.
Australia will have less pressure to deal with and will win….

Here he comes….

75- SUB Totti is coming on to whistles but applause from me, for the ineffective, tired, del Piero…. 

We need Totti now more than we have ever needed him…Time to show what you are made of Francisco…. 

77 Totti, surrounded by 4 aussie defenders, twists then plays a superb pass to Iaquinta whose shot is blocked… 

ALL ITALY SUBS HAVE BEEN MADE….Lippi has no more cards to play… 

AUstralia have 3 subs left….

80- Cahill jumps well and heads just over from the Bresciano corner… 

Cometh the hour, cometh the Totti?? 

81- AUS SUB the steamroller arrives, Aloisi, replacing Sterjovski…
Italy have won only one out of their five world cup penalty shoot-outs….

84- Bresciano tries one with his left foot from 22 yards out…It was never going to trouble Buffon. 

Italy 9-8 on shots…

85- Viduka sniffs a chance but Buffon’s hands are clasped tight around the ball before the thought has a chance to into Viduka action… 

88- Aloisi squaring up to Gattusso who is BOOKED for the original tackle on Chipperfield…. 

I haven’t felt this tense in any game up until now….the skin on my fingers is suffering…

91- BOOKED Zambrotta, for shoulder barge on Aloisi…3rd yellow for Italy to go with the red….who says
Italy are a bunch of divers???? only the cliche lovers, that’s who…

Italy turning the screw….Aussies staNDING TOUGH….

93- Grosso does amazing to get past the right back, cuts into the area…then is crudely chopped down by Neil….Grosso couldn’t get out the way….deserved penalty..he did impede Grosso blatantly… 

italy win 1-0…..
The penalty was hit with power and great technique into the left side of the net…wicked penalty….But why was Totti sucking his thumb in celebration?>????? 


Gattuso struts around the pitch bearing his midget muscles, practising his dancing in front of the aussie players who stand dejected,, gutted, distraught…none more so than the big man Neil who is trying to fight against the un-masculine tendency to cry that affects all players when they realize that they are OUT OUT OUT…….. 

The funniest moment for me was Foster, fighting through the tears saying ‘there was no contact at all’ 

My brother is an Aussie, and he reacted badly to my analysis of the match, insinuating that Italy were ‘boring’ and that the Aussies ‘deserved’ to win…But I don’t think that the Aussies deserved to win. Of course full marks for effort, but effort alone is not enough to win football matches. This is a sport in which class really matters. Gus Hiddink is undoubtedly a master tactician but there is only so far wonderful tactics, team spirit and effort can take a team. For all the charging up and down the pitch and valiant defending, before Materazzi was sent off,
Australia had looked completely toothless. Whereas when the Italians had made inroads into the Aussie 18 yard area, they had looked eager and more capable of sinking sharp canines into a goal.

Australia didn’t/don’t have the quality required to break down that Italian defence.
Italy may have looked more defensive but a quick glance at the ‘shots taken’, and ‘shots ON GOAL’ statistics shows a different story.
Even when Italy were wrongly reduced to ten men,
Australia could only control the midfield area. They never looked like creating a gilt-edged goal-scoring chance. WHy? Because they don’t have a player with the class of Totti….
I knew that Lippi was saving the Ravenous Roman  for the second half, not due to fitness, but in order to shield him from the early Australian siege. Lippi waited until very late on to bring Totti into the fray, but within a minute of stepping onto the pitch, the flair-merchant had already fashioned yet another brilliant chance for Italy when surrounded by four Aussie defenders, he found the killer pass to the unmarked Italian midfielder (Perrotta)..The shot was missed, but that moment wonderfully illustrated the main difference between the two teams i.e.
Australia don’t have a player with world class defence unlocking talent.
The penalty I agreed with, because the only other move Grosso could have made was to have kicked Lucas Neil in the face. The Italian was moving at speed, and his path was blocked by the body of Neil. Despite the emotionally inept Craig Forster commenting ‘there was no contact at all’, every angle I saw the tackle from, showed contact. It wasn’t a nasty tackle, but it was a very unprofesional tackle given the circumstances. Lucas Neil played the player, not the ball.

11 fired up Aussies were not able to beat 10 fired up Italians. Australia went out of the world cup because they lack teeth and class, not because of one mistake by a referee. Well done on the effort front, and the future of AUstralian football still is looking brighter than at any previous point in history, and it is this that the Aussies should concentrate on, NOT whinging like my pommie brothers!!!! I have never seen the ‘bad loser’ side of the australians shown so vehemently as I have done in the past few hours. Maybe Australians have got to used to their sporting heroes winning on effort and heart??I am unsure.
Well done Australia, you fought gallantly and with great spirit. You should all be proud…As for me, I will continue to offer my rigid support for my latin cousins and british brothers…. 

No-one could criticize the effort of the aussies, but they have blatantly lacked talent. Spirit, energy and determination were put to the sword today by talent…….

12 hours later…> I wouldn’t ever say what Grosso did was ‘class’. At best : proffesional. It is just plain nonsense for anybody to be declaring that Australia deserved to go through on effort. They certainly did not outdo the italians in terms of skill or professionalism. Italy carved out the better opportunities, and why Australia huffed and puffed, showed bravey and gallantry, courage and belief, but lacked SKILL and TALENT… I dont think only flair is needed to win football matches. In truth this is the least colourful italian team for many years, in terms of flair. Apart from Totti there is no player who can create something out of nothing, who can turn the game just through his presence on the pitch. Pirlo can pass to perfection, but Totti has a spark of brilliance (and also an unsavoury character). Italy have Totti. England have Joe COle, Rooney and Beckham(who makes it into this group due to his unnaturally accurate passing and free kick abilities, which have already won two games for his country).Argentina have Rodriguez, Riquelme, Saviola, Messi, Tevez.Brazil have Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Kaka, Robinho. AUstralia simply lacks the world class talent -that runs through the ranks in varying levels of intensity-of the powerhouses of the world game; england, brazil, argies, italy….After watching another 50 replays of the Grosso incident, I will concede that- after he had made progress into the area- the Italian was looking for the decision. But if Mark Viduka had raced down the left flank, brushed off Zambrotta (impossible, but try to imagine it just for my example!), then burst into the area where he notices Cannavaro flying towards him studs- first, Viduka would be faced with the same decision that Grosso had to make:
1. jump the tackle, lose the ball \(both feet needed to be jumped HIGH in the air to avoid the bulk of Neils body) and take some comfort from the fact that you haven’t got the defender in trouble!!!???
or 2.
Let your momentum naturally continue and accept the body block and hope for a penalty.

Now do any of you really think that ANY australian player would have chosen option number 1?

to the ludicrous suggestions of match-fixing….Are we then to assume , if the official was that way inclined, that Australia paid him to send off Materazzi???
If that is the case then this ref needs to be banned. Each ref should only accept bribes from one of the two teams playing.
the australian media is pathetic and degrading, in their constant search for fellow ‘australia were robbed’ supporters…SBS said The Sun (uk tabloid) ‘confirms that it(the penalty) was dubious, questionable and dodgy’…So I guess I will have to accept it now eh?  

Due to the lack of a decent ball-player and/or match-winner, Australia were patently unable to give anything but minor concerns to Cannavaro, Zambrotta and Buffon (Matterazi and Zarbaglio were solid also, but not spectacularly so) in the Italian rearguard. These bitter comments that keep cropping up about Italy doing their utmost to make the match into the ‘most boring game of the finals’ are indicitave of the one-eyed logic shown by many Aussie supporters. Whenever Toni or Gilardino got forward there were 6 defenders to deal with. The only difference between the teams, from a movement point of view, was that Italy didnt run up and down the pitch, pointlessly, they waited for the chances to come and then moved decisively.
Lippi is a great coach and the italian team has the greatest defence of this tournament, perhaps one of the greatest in history…
Italy have conceded one goal in 4 games because they have the world’s best defence, not because they play 10 men behind the ball.

I repeat: Well done australia, but all this whinging is really starting to tarnish the commendable achievement of the players who have battled their hearts out on the pitch.Take the praise. quit the moaning. 

 Other Result:

Ukraine 0-0 Swiss

Ukraine won 3-0 on penalties AET.




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