Italy triumphed over Portugal yesterday 3-1 but the scoreline doesn’t do Portugal justice.
Azzurri pummel Portugal? Not a chance.
Portugal was more dominant the first half but came away with nothing to show for their early performance. In fact the Iberians went down a goal prior to half time. A lapse of communication allowed a low cross to penetrated two defenders and the keeper giving the Azzurri the lead. Portuguese defender, Ricardo Carvalho, instead of clearing the ball from the danger area was caught out calling for offside enabling Italian striker Luca Toni to slot a soft goal in at the far post, 1-0 Italy.
Six minutes into the second half stunned Portugal was again caught looking as Andrea Pirlo produced Italy’s second from the edge of the area. Striking the woodwork on it’s way in, the goal was eventually awarded to Cannavaro with the smallest of deflections, 2-0 Italy. The next 25 minutes produced a battle of the fittest as Portugal would try to find a way back into the match. New arrivals of Meireles for Portugal and Perrotta for Italy made for entertaining viewing. The pairing of Grosso with Di Natale on the left caused problems for the Portuguese. After several missed opportunities Portugal finally placed their first behind Italian keeper Amelia when Quaresma scores a beauty in the 77th minute against really poor defending by Italy. The Portuguese looking rejuvenated had their rocket come crashing down yet again as a third goal for Italy (80′ Quagliarella ) went past Ricardo. Portugal never stopped hoping and continued to surge forward producing several quality chances late in the match. Ronaldo in particular should have pulled at least one more goal back from a diving header during the final moments.
So, Italy pummel Portugal? No and neither was it a “stroll past Portugal” the Portuguese defeated themselves having ample opportunity to take charge but not closing the deal,
“Italy punishes Portugal” is surely a more accurate headline.