Italy to meet Germany

Italy have produced a clinical display just at the right time of the World Cup Finals as they comprehensively defeated Ukraine 3-0 in Hamburg to go through to the semi finals.

Gianluca Zambrotta scored the first and set up the last
Gianluca Zambrotta scored the first and set up the last

A rare Gianluca Zambrotta goal in the 6th minute sent the Azzurri on their way, and two Luca Toni goals in the second half capped off an impressive win over a gallant but outclassed Ukraine side.

Taking the ball on the right wing, Zambrotta drifted infield and unleashed a low left foot shot which burnt keeper Oleksander Shovkovskyi’s finger tips on the way into the back of the net, registering the defender’s second international goal.

The Juventus player flew back to Italy earlier in the week to visit his club’s Sports Director Gianluca Pessotto who was involved in an attempted suicide thought to be linked to the current match fixing scandal in the Serie A.

In the 59th minute, Italy had their second goal when Totti crossed from the left with striker Luca Toni getting down with a low header into the corner of goal, Serie A’s top scorer finally getting his first goal of the tournament.

Italy’s Luca Toni bagged a double on the night

Italy’s Luca Toni bagged a double
on the night

Then in the 69th minute Zambrotta turned from scorer to provider when he sent a pass across goal where Fiorentina striker Toni tapped in for his second in ten minutes.

As the second half opened, Ukraine had a great chance to equalise when Krylya Sovietov Samara midfielder Andriy Gusin had an open header at the far post, but nodded a weak effort into the post, with Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon hitting his head on the upright in an effort to save.

In the 62nd minute, a Maksym Kalinichenko delivery saw Gusin rise at the back of the pack sending a looping header over a beaten Buffon, only for the ball to hit the crossbar – Ukraine hitting the woodwork for the second time in the half.

Earlier, the Eastern Europeans had their first real attempt on goal in the 33rd minute when Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Anatoliy Tymoschuk had a shot from long range which went wide, even though keeper Buffon had it covered.

In the 41st minute, Ukraine captain Andriy Shevchenko finally got in on the action, hitting a shot which deflected off his Italian opposite Fabio Cannavaro, but Buffon got across to make the save.

Toni celebrates his second goaland his side’s semi final berth

Toni celebrates his second goal
and his side’s semi final berth

In the 58th minute Oleg Shelayev had a one-on-one shot against Buffon from well inside the box, only to thump his shot directly the Juventus keeper with the ball falling to Kalinichenko follow up, only to again be thwarted by the Italian custodian.

Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin must have fired up in the dressing sheds at halftime as his side performed far better in the second half and were unlucky to get on the scoreboard with some great shots and enterprising play.

The dream run for the World Cup debutants came to an end much like their tournament started, on the wrong end of a big scoreline.

Italy go through to the semi finals to meet Germany in Dortmund on Tuesday, 4th July.

Source : Al Jazeera

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