Ecuador kicked-off from right to left.... but
it was Italy who quickly stamped their mark on the game.
-- GOAL -- 1-0
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 Italian's advantage.
Totti was always hovering dangerously and
almost latched on to a 24th minute right-wing cross from Gianluca Zambrotta.
-- GOAL -- 2-0
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
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 game.
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.