Monday, June 26, 2006 | 1:36 pm

A 93rd minute decider from a tragically soft penalty proves that it doesn't matter that you're one-man down as long as the man-in-black can make up your numbers.

Once he got inside the box, Grosso was looking for somewhere to fall, and although Lucas Neil's shot blocking slide made no contact at all, Grosso made sure he then cut back to jump over his body, drag a foot, and go sprawling in classic Italian style. Weak weak weak.

I will give credit Italy's defence, which was rock-solid for most of the second half, presenting the Aussies only half chances inside the box, although Cahill's header should have been on target. But to be rampant favourites, play counter football, and then get the last kick of the game handed to you isn't the proudest way to progress. But Italian soccer hasn't had much moments of pride in the last month.

The Kewel-less Socceroos took it to them again, not content to sit back and defend, and although Italy looked more lethal in front of goal, our midfield distributed well and our 3-man defence hustled and stood up the attack admirably, offering only a few half-chances for big man Toni.

But up front we lacked teeth, with Chipperfield coming closest, denied by Buffon, and Viduka acting as a distribution man but failing to provide a killer ball, or create a clear cut shot. Best chances came from headers, and the late-industry of Bresciano who was always willing to cut back in onto his left for a long shot.

The Aussies go home proud, but with that gnawing feeling that they could have snatched the biggest upset of the World Cup. Hopefully that will make them hungry for 2010.

Now I have to barrack for Switzerland/Ukraine to knock out the Iti's! Like England, they are playing poorly, defending well, and keep stumbling through.


At 27/6/06 1:25 am, Blogger TheGirard said...

i can't believe that you answered the celly when it was GiGi

At 27/6/06 8:39 am, Blogger Brad said...

I was kinda hoping for another hot soccer fan pic here.


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