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World Cup: Underdog Croatia Upsets Italy

Croatia has pulled off a shocking 2-1 upset of pre-World Cup favorite Italy in Ibaraki, in the only match played in Japan Saturday. The Italian side appeared to be robbed of two goals by poor officiating from the referees.

Croatia outplayed Italy in the opening 45 minutes, completely neutralizing star Italian forward Christian Vieri, who was not a factor in the scoreless first half. That appeared to change in the 49th minute, when Vieri headed the ball into the Croatian net. An offside call from the referee negated the score, although a replay showed it should have counted.

The Italian star finally tallied a goal that counted in the 55th minute, for the 1-0 lead. But Croatia refused to fold, as Ivica Olic got the equalizer in the 73rd and Milan Rapaic put the underdogs ahead 2-1 in the 76th.

Italy almost tied the match on a late free kick by Francesco Totti, but it rocketed off the post. Then in injury time, a pass from Italy's half of the field went over everyone's head and somehow dribbled past the keeper, Stipe Pletikosa, into Croatia's net. But for the second time, the referees ruled it no-goal, to secure Croatia's shocking 2-1 victory.