Italy exhausted a courageous effort from Solomon Islands to win 7-4 in what proved a fitting curtain-raiser to Marseille 2008. Paolo Palmacci shone for the Europeans, while Gibson Hosea's brace kept the Bilikiki Boys in contention before he was sent off.
The Italians made an explosive start, scoring twice inside the first 71 seconds courtesy of Palmacci and Simone Feudi. James Naka halved the deficit, but Francesco Corosoniti's thunderous volley and a Giuseppe Soria strike sent the Azzurri in 4-1 up at the first break. It was 6-4 by the end of the second period, Roberto Pasquali and Giuseppe Condorelli on target for the Italians.
The final 12 minutes proved tight, with and own goal completing the scoring and ensuring that Italy went straight to the top of Group A.