June 12, 2006

Italy 2, Ghana 0: So much for the theory that the Juventus Scandal was going to distract the Azurri. Hard-fought match, decided on goals late in each half, with the Ghanaians screwed on a no-call late in the game inside the penalty area. Since both teams should have an easy time against the U.S., the games against a Czech team that lost another of its stars will be critical. For Italy especially, anything less than a three-goal margin Saturday could be devastating; the Czech Republic has an edge in goal differential, and the runner-up in this group will likely play Brazil in the Second Round. Ghana, on the other hand, needs at least a point Saturday, then hope Italy beats the Czechs in the final game, to have any chance of advancing.

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