Rediff India Abroad
 Rediff India Abroad Home  |  All the sections


The Web

India Abroad

Sign up today!

Mobile Downloads
Text 67333
Article Tools
Email this article
Top emailed links
Print this article
Contact the editors
Discuss this Article

Home > Sports > Football Fiesta > Reuters > Report

Grosso becomes Italy's unlikely hero

Trevor Huggins | July 05, 2006 11:50 IST

Related Articles
Late goals send Italy into final

We are hugely disappointed, says Klinsmann

Player of the day: Fabio Cannavaro

Images: Germany vs Italy

Feature: Goalkeepers in the spotlight

Defender Fabio Grosso, who was playing fourth division football only five years ago, was struggling to take in the fact that he had booked Italy [Images] into the World Cup final after Tuesday's 2-0 win over Germany [Images].

Grosso, who won the last-minute penalty that secured Italy's passage into the second round against Australia, went one better by firing a superb curling shot past Jens Lehmann at the end of extra time to give Italy the lead in the semi-final.

Though Alessandro Del Piero put the result beyond doubt in stoppage time, it was Grosso's eye for goal from his years as a winger that put Italy within reach of the final.

It also marked an astonishing rise in the game for a player whose career started with four seasons in amateur football, until 1998, and continued with another three in Italy's C2 fourth division with Chieti before ending up at Palermo.

The left back, widely tipped to join Inter Milan, told reporters: "When I saw it go in, it was such a big emotional rush - and I was glad to share it with all my team mates.

"I can't find the words at the moment. I'm very happy, as we all are. We're in the final. It's a dream, and bit by bit it's coming true.


"We're all hoping now that we can see it right through to the end.

"It's a moment of great emotion and great joy. We wanted to get to the final and we stood firm in a stadium which was a really tough place to play in and we were facing a really great side."

Grosso's goal capped a campaign which has been overshadowed by the scandal that has rocked Italian soccer and led to a state prosecutor on Tuesday calling for Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina to be relegated from Serie A.

"We started this campaign with a thousand difficulties and now we're having a great tournament," said 28-year-old Grosso.

"We've reached an incredible finishing line. We're a great group of players and we deserve the satisfaction we've earned ourselves here.

"It was a great performance. We came close a number of times and defended in great style. Then, just when it looked as though it was heading for penalties, these two goals came along."

Grosso's impact at these finals follows a fine run with his Sicilian club, who he joined in Serie B from top-flight Perugia in 2003 and helped win promotion to Serie A.

Though Marcello Lippi did not include him in his squad for Euro 2004, Italy's coach will be very glad he did for Germany.

© Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.