Socceroos Robbed By Diving Azzurri’s!

“ROBBED! Dirty diving Italians…”, I smsed to a few of my friends this morning (my wife is Italian so there was no racism intended in my remarks). I was of course mentioning Australia’s loss to Italy at the 2006 World Cup, due to a dubious referee decision, in the 92nd minute of their Round of 16 encounter. What a shattering way to be bundled out!

Australia had played especially well in the first half, applying great pressure to the Italian backs but not able to convert. Mark Schwarzer was playing great for Australia, having already saved a number of shots on goal by the Azzurri. Italy also had some beautiful attempts on goal with Luca Toni looking particularly dangerous with his control of the ball in the air and the ground superb:

Photo: AFP

The 2nd half started and in the 50th minute Italy lost Marco Materazzi to a red card for a challenge on Australian Marco Bresciano – on replay it appeared that Materazzi had actually tripped up another Italian player but off the field he was sent. I’m no believer in karma but fate would have it that this incorrect decision would be evened before the end of the game.

For the next 43+ minutes, Australia tried to penetrate Italy’s defensive line but just couldn’t find a way in or if they did get in, couldn’t execute a kick/header to score that elusive goal. With only 10 men on the pitch, Italy did well in their half and relied on a counter attacking game for offence – this lead to several advances into Australia’s box but the defenders managed to stop all attempts.

Then disaster struck. 3 minutes into injury time and 8 seconds from the end of the game, Fabio Grosso broke into the Australian box by getting around Bresciano. Lucas Neill came forward and tackled Grosso who flung himself to the ground, in a deliberate dive, after making contact to Neill’s body with his left foot:

Photo: AP

Referee Luis Medina Cantalejo signalled a penalty kick and Francesco Totti slotted the ball past Schwarzer with ease:

Photo: Getty Images

And thus ended Australia’s gallant efforts, in spectacular circumstances, at the 2006 World Cup. No doubt, it shouldn’t have been a penalty kick but Australia shouldn’t have let itself get in to that situation – their defence had started to lighten up as their went all out for victory in normal time.

Still, at the end of the day, Australia should be proud to have been in the Round of 16 and can hold its head up high to have kept Italy 0-0 for 90+ minutes of the game. Well done Socceroos, well done!

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15 Responses to Socceroos Robbed By Diving Azzurri’s!

  1. deckart jazz says:

    Very disappointing way to be out of World Cup ’06. Italy looked very dangerous when they were attacking especially around the penalty box. Having said that though, Australia had far more possession than the Azzurri, we just couldn’t get any clear ball whilst attacking.

    Viduka was continually out numbered and he only had 1 real header attempt at goal. I don’t think he even had a strike that was how much he was double/triple teamed. Chipperfield had our best chance but unfortunately stuck the ball right into Buffon’s arms.

    The penalty awarded was very dubious in my opinion. Lucas Neill didn’t actually touch Grosso and was lying on the ground. Grosso proceeded to then clumsily run into him and take a dive. There is no doubt in my mind he could have easily jumped over Neill.

    Anyway, Australia has now shown they are no easy beats and has earned some well deserved respect from the Soccer community. I hope we get back Guus for the next World Cup but I doubt it. I was thoroughly entertained, by the Socceroos, throughout the World Cup campaign and they should hold their heads high. They have done us proud!

  2. poo says:

    it actually wasnt an unfair penalty as you do not even have to touch a player….but because grosso was obstructed by neill in the penalty box that under soccer rules is awarded a penalty shot

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