Monday June 3rd, 2002
Italy vs Ecuador in Sapporo
Ecuador kicked-off from right to left.... but it was Italy who
quickly stamped their mark on the game.
With only six minutes on the clock, Totti - on the right - pulled the ball
back for Christian Vieri, to neatly left foot the Italians in front.
Five minutes later, Totti himself forced Jose Cevallos to palm away
for a corner.
As South American runners-up, Ecuador were not expected to cave in to
the Italian threat and tried to play their part in the short-ball game - much to the
Totti was always hovering dangerously and almost latched on to a 24th
minute right-wing cross from Gianluca Zambrotta.
Three minutes later, a lack of concentration allowed Christian Vieri to slip past Hurtado
and run onto a long ball, slam it against Jose Cevallos' legs and make sure the loose ball
ended up in the back of the net.
Towards the end of the first half, Ecuador seemed content to try and
hold the ball up like boxers on the ropes, thus limiting the damage Italy could cause.
Half-time: Italy 2 - Ecuador 0
No goals in the second half but the game was far from boring. This
Italian side are looking very dangerous.
Just when the game seems quiet, they produce a burst of acceleration
and a serious threat in front of goal; the Totti/Vieri combination is lethal.
Del Pierro came on for Totti, fifteen minutes from the end, but didn't
really make an impact or suggest that he deserves to start, instead of Totti, in the next
Ecuador proved that they could pass the ball comfortably but against
Italy the slightest lack of concentration is punished, and of course the Azzurri rarely
make a defensive error to let anyone back in the game.
Man of the Match:
Christian Vieri - Two goals and a constant menace in front of goal.
Augusto Poroso (14 mins)
Ulises De La Cruz (49 mins)
Cleber Chala (54 mins)
Fabio Cannavaro (81 mins)
1 Gianluigi Buffon; 2 Christian Panucci,13 Alessandro Nesta, 5 Fabio Cannavaro, 3 Paolo
Maldini; 19 Gianluca Zambrotta; 17 Damiano Tommasi, 14 Luigi Di Biagio (8 Gennaro Gattuso
- 69 mins), 11 Cristiano Doni (16 Angelo Di Livio - 65 mins); 10 Francesco
Totti (7 Alessandro Del Piero - 74 mins), 21 Christian Vieri.
1 Jose Cevallos; 4 Ulises De La Cruz, 3 Ivan Hurtado, 2 Augusto Poroso, 6 Raul Guerron; 19
Edison Mendez, 5 Alfonso Obregon, 10 Alex Aguinaga (18 Carlos Tenorio - 46 mins), 16
Cleber Chala (7 Nicol�s Asencio - 86 mins); 20 Edwin Tenorio (23 Walter Ayov� -
59 mins), 11 Agustin Delgado.
Referee: Brian Hall
Denmark, France, Senegal, Uruguay.
Paraguay, Slovenia, Spain,
Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Turkey.
South Korea, United States.
Korea First Round Matches.
Cameroon, Germany, Republic of Ireland,
Argentina, England, Nigeria, Sweden.
Croatia, Ecuador, Italy, Mexico.
Belgium, Japan, Russia, Tunisia.
Japan First Round Matches.
2002 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.
Group Tables - Leading Goalscorers.
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