Italy beaten and battered all day, and come out with a 1-0 victory on a penalty decision that I can only describe as dubious, disgraceful, dire, fortuitous, soft, phantom...or just jammy. I'm not sure that's even a word, but that call was jammy. It's pretty clear on the replay, Neil slides a good foot from Grosso, who's largely stationary. The ball rolls off to one side. Grosso looks down at Neil, who looks back. They both look at the ref. Then Grosso 'savvily' hooks his toe under Neil's prostrate form, and hurtles over. The only thing that convinced me it wasn't a well done cartoon was the lack of Grosso holding up a sign saying "Yipes!" in Italian before he started to fall. Great conversion by Totti, as well.
As for the rest of the game, Oz looked livelier, but there was always a sense that their defenders where absolutely terrified any time Italy got 3 or 4 guys forward. Even down to 10 men, Italy seemed more menacing. Or rather, Australia seemed more menaced than vice versa - score one for unfussy Italian defending, they never looked panicked. Cannavaro and in partiuclar Zambrotta went a ways towards blunting any possible Aussie attacks. The absence of Kewell and Emerton really showed as Stejovski never looked like causing any danger.
So a crap Italian squad goes through to play the ubercrap Ukranians who beat the ultimately super crappy Swiss in the Worst Game Ever. I imagine that if the Swiss continued taking penalties until the start of the Italy-Ukraine game, they might bury one or two, but I wouldn't put money on it.
My World Cup (rather swiftly) Begin to Runneth Empty. (Though I'm not quite here. Yet.)