On this day in 2006, Italy beat the Czech Republic 2-0 to advance to the Last 16 of the World Cup.
The Azzurri had beaten Ghana in their first group game, but were held to a 1-1 draw in the second, with Daniele De Rossi sent off for a brutal elbow.
The Czechs, inspired by Juventus’ Pavel Nedved, had been ranked second in the world going into the tournament, and thrashed the USA 3-0 in their first game.
However, an injury to Jan Koller robbed them of a focal point in attack and they were stunned 2-0 by Ghana in Cologne on match day two.
That left them needing to beat Marcello Lippi’s side to advance to the next round, while the Italians would crash out if Ghana beat the US.
With Nedved pulling the strings, the Czech Republic started brightly and Gianluigi Buffon had to be sharp to smother at Milan Baros’ feet after his Juve teammate had played the striker through.
The Italy goalkeeper then had to beat away to Nedved shots from the edge of the box.
To make matters worse, Ghana took a 1-0 lead over in Nuremberg, but the Azzurri managed to hit the front after 26 minutes.
Marco Materazzi had replaced the injured Alessandro Nesta after 17 minutes, and just nine minutes later he rose highest to head Francesco Totti’s corner past Petr Cech.
Italy’s place in the next round was all but assured in first-half stoppage time, when Jan Polak was shown a second yellow card.
Even with 10-men the Czechs knew they had to press, and Buffon again denied Nedved.
Inevitably though their adventurous style left space for Italy, and substitute Filippo Inzaghi sealed all three points on 87 minutes.
The Milan striker and Simone Barone both burst behind the Czech defence, and SuperPippo shaped to pass to the Palermo midfielder.
Inzaghi was never going to pass though, and he used the decoy run to take the ball around Cech and pass into the net.
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