Italy defeat Ghana 2-0

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Italy made a solid start to their World Cup campaign with a 2-0 win over Ghana.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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Italy made a solid start to their World Cup campaign with a 2-0 win over Ghana. But the first timers from Africa weren't pushovers and kept up the pressure right till the end. With Totti starting behind Luca Toni and Alberto Gilardino, the Italian attack presented a formidable look, and the Azzuri almost took the lead in the 26th minute if not for Luca Toni's shot bouncing down off the bar. Totti's return gave the Italians a formidable set-piece option. The talismanic star came close to scoring with a booming 40-yard free kick that stung the palm of Ghanaian custodian Richard Kingston. The Italians, however, continued to mount the attack, and the breakthrough came when AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo belted screamer from 35 yards to give Italy the lead in the 40th minute. This was the 27-year-old's 5th goal in 25 appearances Impressive debut Playing their first World Cup, Ghana didn't seem to be intimidated by the occasion and proved worthy of playing at the tournament. After conceding a goal, the Africans did try to fight back in the second-half. However, the below par performance of their strikers hurt the Africans throughout the game. Their inexperience showed once again, as Sammy Kuffour gifted Udinese striker Vincenzo Iaquinta his first international goal. The final score of 2-0 meant that Italy join the Czech Republic on the top of group E. However, the win may have been a costly one for Italy as playmaker Francesco Totti exited the game after apparently re-injuring his surgically repaired left leg in the second half.

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