Italy players put arms on each other’s shoulders and sing their national anthem, “The Trains Will Run On Time.” Every player seems to have used hair gel. Maybe I should try that. Ghana’s national anthem has words as well, and everyone joins in a rousing chorus of “Attack of the Typhoid Mosquito.” Either that or “You’ll Always Be Gold Coast to Me.” I couldn’t quite make it out.
Ghana in white, Italy in Blue. Here we go! Lots of good play, exciting chances, and a 0-0 draw would be nice, at least for the US.
Game is relatively even in the opening 5 minutes, with some attacking but no great chances either way. First Ghana shot on goal easily handled. Corner to Italy in the 6th minute. Keeper looked weak on the cross. Another corner, this one cleared. Another corner in the 7th minute. Lots of Italian pressure. Headed high.
Yellow corner to de Rossi in the 10th minute. Yep, went right through the guy. Could have played advantage, but the kick is in a hugely dangerous spot, so I guess it’s all even. Off the wall. Italy counters, good attack, couldn’t finish the cross.
Good through ball in the 13th; Ghana’s keeper well off his line to intercept.
Handball in the 14th minute. Dangerous free kick for Italy. Tricky set play fails as Totti skies it in the stands. Too bad. Personally, I would’ve tried to shot on goal from the free kick. Two man walls aren’t that tough to bend around.
Big chance for Ghana in the 17th headed clear. Good action so far.
Good chance offside in the 20th minute. Ghana’s close. Cross, first time, too high, backside chip knocked out. Corner to Italy in the 22nd. Keeper takes, no problem.
Quick attack by Ghana. Nope. Huge error in midfield by Ghana, but Italy can’t capitalize in the 23rd.
Big shot for Ghana in the 25th, but nothing. Way too high.
Oh my! Off the bar in the 26th. Was that in? Guess not, but it sure shook the bar around. Replay looks like it didn’t go in. Thank God, too, because nobody wants to see Italy go into their famous defensive shell.
Ghana getting some OK chances, but not with any quality finishes. Another Ghana chance in the 28th goes wide. Big turnover in the midfield for Italy. Ghana misses another one in the 30th. Italian defense certainly doesn’t look impossible to beat, perhaps the lone good news of the day for the US.
Ghana over the top again in the 31st minute. Somebody tell these guys to aim low. Great free kick for Italy in the 33rd. Punched over. Resulting corner pops over the goal. Close.
Free kick to Italy blocked in the 34th. Toni’s crossing shot gobbled up by the keeper in the 35th. Corner to Italy in the 36th. Keeper punches clear, counter attack foiled.
Corner to Ghana in the 38th. Header caught to the keeper.
Toni’s long run nets a corner in the 39th. GOAL! Major Italian strike from top right of the box goes into the corner. Brilliant shot, and really bad news for the US and Ghana.
Yellow to Ghana for a pull down foul after the restart. Corner to Italia. Nothing.
Long ball for Toni. Can’t catch up with it. 42nd minute. Some tricky stuff by both sides in the 44th, but nothing but style points. Keeper does well to save a shot from Toni in the 45th.
And that’s the half, 1-0 to Italy. Good game thus far.
Light 2nd half blogging thanks to parental duties. Hope Totti is okay with the calf(?) injury. If Ghana had somebody who could finish, they’d be terrific. If they get lucky against the US, we’ll lose big. Not that they’re unbeatable, just that with our defense, we’re highly beatable. June 22nd’s Italy v. Czech Republic should be a great game, especially if it decides group champion. (Group’s second place finisher probably plays Brazil next round.)
Thrilled that Italy has continued to attack. Much more interesting game than I expected.
Ghana’s massive defensive error puts Italy up 2-0 in the 38th minute of the second half. Bummer of a way to have it go down.
And speaking of bummers, that’s it. 2-0 to Italy. Bad day for the US, bad day for Ghana. I’d like to mention something on the brighter side, but I’m not thinking of anything at present. I suppose nobody on the US got injured. Yipee.