Sunday, 10 August 2008

[Olympics] Italy reach quarters

Goals from Tommaso Rocchi, Giuseppe Rossi and Riccardo Montolivo earned Italy a 3-0 win over South Korea and a place in the quarter-finals.

Italy 3-0 South KoreaStraight from the first whistle, the match was played at a frenetic pace. Sebastian Giovinco stung the hands of Jung Sung-Ryong with an inswinging free-kick, while Park Chu-Young's effort from 20-yards almost caught Emilian Viviano unawares.

However, it took just 15 minutes for Italy to open the scoring. The Azzurri's only over-age player, Rocchi saw his shot blocked, but the rebound fell in the path of Rossi who outmuscled the Korean defence to fire home an unstoppable shot.

Salvatore Bocchetti had a chance to double the Italians' advantage, firing over when well-placed, but they did not have to wait too long. Giovinco played the ball to full-back Marco Motta who cut the ball back to the onrushing Rocchi who made no mistake.

With time ticking down in the first-half, Korea almost pulled one back when Shin Young-Rok's cross was headed against the crossbar by Park. However, Pierluigi Casiraghi's side almost scored a third when Rossi flashed a shot wide with just the keeper to beat.

The half-time interval saw Park Sung-Wha make a double substitution to try and bring his side back into the game, but it was still the Italians who created the better chances.

Italy 3-0 South KoreaGiovinco again had Jung scrambling to his right to claw away a free-kick, while Italy's two R's, Rocchi and Rossi, combined well to set up a chance which the latter fired over the crossbar. The Taeguk Warriors enjoyed their best spell midway through the second half, but aside from some territorial advantage, they had little to show for their efforts.

With his side enjoying a two goal advantage, Casiraghi had the luxury of replacing Giovinco and the goalscorers in the second half to keep their powder dry for the final group game with Cameroon in three days' time.

Then in the final stages, Italy added insult to injury when Robert Acquafresca broke quickly down the right hand side and squared the ball to Montolivo. The Fiorentina midfielder hit the post with his initial effort, but the ball rebounded kindly for him, and he made no mistake with the second opportunity.

Italy: Viviano, Motta, Coda, Criscito, Bocchetti, Montolivo, Cigarini, Nocerino, Giovinco (Abate 77), Rossi (Dessena 82), Rocchi (Acquafresca 58).

Pierluigi Casiraghi (Italy coach): "I thought it was a great match and that my players did a great job. Korea Republic were a harder test than Honduras. We're now guaranteed a place in the quarter-final, but we now want to finish first in our group. But that's not about us trying to avoid Brazil, they are in the same situation as ourselves. It's just a case of us taking things one game at a time. We're not among the favourites."

Giuseppe Rossi (Italy forward): "I'm not thinking of being the top scorer in this competition. I'm just thinking about Italy, the game against Cameroon and the team. Time will tell as to who finishes as the top scorer. It's nice of the media to say that I deserve ten out of ten for my performance, but I don't believe that. However, the team merits ten out of ten."

Argentina 1-0 AustraliaMATCHDAY 2 RESULTS
Sunday August 10
Group A:
Argentina 1-0 Australia
Serbia 2-4 Ivory Coast
Group B:
Nigeria 2-1 Japan
USA 2-2 Netherlands
Group C:
New Zealand 0-5 Brazil
Belgium 2-0 China
Group D:
Cameroon 1-0 Honduras
Italy 3-0 South Korea


Source: FIFA

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