Australia, which had come to Germany the 44th ranked team in the world, could not take advantage of 12th ranked Italy being a man down for most of the second half. That followed a call just as questionable as the one in the 93rd minute that awarded Italy Francesco Totti's gaming winning penalty kick.
As in the 2-2 draw with Croatia, it seemed as if the Australians were chasing a victory most of the way. They continually battered the Italian defense, which bent but ultimately did not give, but couldn't quite step up the pace to their one-player advantage.
Having Monday's match decided on Grosso's Oscar-winning performance and Totti's resulting goal is heartbreaking consider the Socceroos' extraordinary run. It leaves a bitter taste that no amount of, well, bitters will wash away.
But while the Socceroos return home beaten, they are unbowed.
While their skills on the pitch were not quite that of the Italians, they have a spirit that no team can equal.
END OF THE ROAD FOR
Ghana, the World Cup's other Cinderalla team, was no match for Ronaldo and mighty Brazil, which sent the Black Stars packing after a 3-0 rout.
took the game to Ghana for long periods but was let down by erratic finishing and bad luck. Brazil