Besieged by their media’s obsession with the so-called
“biscotto” conspiracy theory and concerned at their goal-shy
performances in draws with Spain and Croatia, they delivered all
that was required with a solid, if not commanding, 2-0 win.
Goals in each half by Antonio Cassano and substitute Mario
Balotelli, both from corners by the evergreen Andrea Pirlo, took
Italy through to the last eight along with group winners Spain,
but it was anything but an easy ride.
“It has been a very difficult match, we came up against a
team that made us suffer,” said Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.