Italy dominates in Quarters, to face the hosts in Semis….

Quarter Finals
Italy defeated Ukraine 3-0
Goals: Gianluca Zambrotta, Luca Toni (2) (Italy)

Italy were the dominators in the Quarter Finals of the FIFA world cup 2006, thrashing Ukraine 3-0! The world saw the Team Italybrilliant comeback of Luca Toni, Italy’s star striker in the tournament. He was marked heavily in all the matches he played including the one against Ukraine. The match started with some slught moves from Ukraine, but soon Italy got control of over the ball. The 5-star Ukraine forward Andriy Shevchenko got a good touch of the ball only after the game went beyond the first twenty minutes, and he got some considerable chance only minutes before the half-time, thanks to the Italian defence. It was an excellent strike by Gianluca Zambrotta to put the Azzurris in front in the 6th minute. Toni came out of his shell later to complete the task for the Italians with two superb goals.

Yet again, we saw the new facet of the Italian game, attack along with defence. The defence wasn’t seriously tested but captain Fabio Cannavaro was supreme in his business area. The Italian players were heavily marked by the opposition. Gennaro Gattuso and Simone Perrotta were pulled down almost at will! But the Italians were on a mission. Probably, they had the weakest of all the 8 teams to face in the Quarters, but that is no fault of the Italians!

Up next is the host Germany in the Semis. The Italians have no reason to fail there also, even though the Germans are on a high. The world’s best goal keeper in Gianluigi Buffon, three of the world’s best defenders in Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta (hope he will be fit for the Semis) and Zambrotta, two of the world’s best midfileders in Francesco Totti and Andrea Pirlo, one of the world’s best strikers in Luca Toni, and to add with it, two of the world’s best hard-working utility players in Gattuso and Perrotta. No wonder if this team goes into the finals and hopefully wins it this time. Two more things to add to the confidence of this Italian side; one, they devastated the Germans in a friendly on March 1, 2006; two, they have not lost in their last 23 matches and almost two years!

All the best to Marcello Lippi and his men!

Photo: FIFA

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