Italy deserved to beat Australia - they had more chances despite playing the majority of the game with ten-men. However, the goal that secured their victory owed much to a skill that Italians have perfected over the years - diving. As Fabio Grosso cut in from the left, Lucas Neill slid in to block his path, a good two metres from Grosso. Grosso simply advanced towards him and fell over Neill’s prostrate body. Luis Medina Cantalejo pointed to the spot and Totti scored to give Italy victory in the last minute - a cruel blow.
In truth the Australians never really looked like scoring despite their numerical advantage. In contrast, Italy even seemed to benefit from Materazzi’s sending off. It allowed them to revert to the catenaccio that they know and love and move away from the more expansive game they showed during most of the first half. Italy now face the Ukraine and must be strong favourites for a semi-final place.
Here’s the dive, in all it’s glory….