Italy gets favorable call, tops Australia

Penalty kick wins it in 95th minute, 1-0

World Cup

June 27, 2006|By LUIS ARROYAVE | LUIS ARROYAVE,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Australia shoved, tackled and forearmed Italy at times during yesterday's World Cup match, but it was a play with little contact that set up Italy for its game-winning penalty kick.

Only seconds remained in stoppage time when Australia defender Lucas Neill slid into an airborne Fabio Grosso while in the box, causing Grosso to trip over Neill and be awarded a penalty kick.

Francesco Totti capitalized on the questionable call by referee Luis Medina and placed the kick just past the reach of Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer for the 1-0 win.

Minutes after the match, Australia's players stood motionless on the field staring in the direction of the goal where Totti ended their World Cup run.

"We fully dominated against a team that is much more highly ranked than us," Australian coach Guus Hiddink said. "If you see the replay, there is no doubt it wasn't a penalty."

Italian coach Marcello Lippi disagreed.

"There were two fouls on [Neill]," he said. "[Grosso] didn't go down under the first and he carried on dribbling and then sustained another clear foul."

Australia held the three-time World Cup champions scoreless until Totti's 95th-minute strike, but Italy just as easily could have been up a goal or two in the first 25 minutes had it been able to finish on its many chances.

A volley by forward Alberto Gilardino was tipped over the net by Schwarzer, and a shot by another Italian forward, Luca Toni, was stopped with Schwarzer's leg.

The 46,000 at Fritz Walter Stadion saw Toni's frustration continue when he threw his hands into the air after Vincenzo Iaquinta was unable to find him in stride early in the second half.

Also throwing a frustrated arm up was Italy defender Marco Materazzi in reaction to the red card he received in the 50th minute after delivering a tackle from behind.

Materazzi's sendoff left Italy to play with 10 men most of the second half.

"There was a real desire to succeed and real determination - plus a bit of organization because it is not easy to defend in 10," Lippi said. "These lads showed great heart, great character and also great quality."

With Gilardino replaced right before halftime and Toni replaced in the 56th minute, Italy had no substitutes left after Totti entered the match in the 75th minute. This would have favored Australia had the match gone into the 30-minute extra time.

For Totti, the goal came in the same round in which he was sent off with two yellow cards during the controversial 2002 World Cup loss to South Korea. Interestingly, the coach leading the opposite bench during Totti's disappointing game was the same one he sent packing yesterday.

UKRAINE 0, SWITZERLAND 0 (UKRAINE WINS SHOOTOUT, 3-0) -- Ukraine made the quarterfinals in its first World Cup by blanking Switzerland for 120 minutes, then shutting out the Swiss in a shootout in Cologne, Germany.

Goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovskyi didn't have to work very hard, especially in the shootout. Two Swiss misses were right at him; the other went off the crossbar.

Meanwhile, Artem Milevskiy, Serhiy Rebrov and Oleg Gusev hit the net after Ukraine star Andriy Shevchenko's weak, low shot was stopped by Switzerland's Pascal Zuberbuehler.

The Ukrainians mobbed one another in a pile after the win, which put them into a match Friday against Italy in Hamburg.

"We suffered a lot and we're happy to have won for all Ukrainians," Shevchenko said. "We do not have the greatest players, but we make up for that by making sacrifices for each other, by playing with a lot of heart."

The Swiss, who did not yield a goal in the entire tournament until the shootout, stood stunned at their lack of marksmanship from the penalty spot in the first shootout of the tournament.

"We put in a good performance and I hope all of Switzerland is still behind us. Football is sometimes hard, but we gained a lot of experience for Euro 2008 in our own country," defender Ludovic Magnin said.

Both teams are considered outsiders at the World Cup, and if Ukraine can't find a semblance of offense in the quarterfinals, it's unlikely to stick around.

It was a tame game, particularly in comparison to the other quarterfinals. There was only one yellow card in a tournament that has set a record for yellows and for ejections.

Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin chose to start the shootout with his top scorer, but Shevchenko's shot was poor. Even worse was Marco Streller's effort low but directly at Shovkovskyi.

And after Milevskiy scored, Tranquillo Barnetta hit the crossbar. Rebrov made it 2-0 and Ricardo Cabanas looked almost amateurish on his shot directly into the middle of the goal - and right at Shovkovskyi.

Then Gusev powered his winner into the left side of the net.

Luis Arroyave writes for the Chicago Tribune. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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