Italy seal semi spot
© Foto-net

Edgar Bertoni struck a last-gasp equaliser to secure a place in the last four for Italy as the Azzurri came from behind to clinch a thrilling 5-5 draw with Iran.

The stakes could hardly have been higher at the Gimnasia Nilson Nelson in Brasilia, with both sides knowing that a semi-final place rested within their grasp. Italy struck first, captain Grana sending a stunning shot into the top corner after just two minutes play to leave Mostafa Nazari without an earthly.

Within seven minutes, it looked as if Italy were all but assured of their spot in the last four when Grana doubled his and his side's tally, converting an exquisite pass from Adriana Foglia. The two-goal lead was no more than Italy deserved at this stage, and it was against the run of play that Iran pulled themselves back into contention two minutes later, Ali Hassanzadeh Masoud Daneshvar diving in to head home.

Within another two minutes, however, Iran were level, as a static Italian defence watched Ebrahim Masoudi waltz through their ranks to equalise. Patrick Nora did restore the Europeans' advantage from a 14th-minute Grana corner but, once again, the Asian champions came roaring back, with Mohammad Hashemzadeh slotting home after great set-up play by Taheri.

That was how it stayed until, with 11 minutes remaining and for the first time in the match, Iran pulled in front, Ali Hassanzadeh directing a shot past Alexandre Feller from 12 metres. Even when Italy equalised a couple of minutes later through Fabiano, Iran seemed to sense that history was in the making and, with just four minutes remaining, Masoud Daneshvar struck what looked at the time to be a decisive blow.

That, however, was until Bertoni popped up with all of 50 seconds left on the clock to seal a remarkable victory that sends Italy on to the semi-finals and Iran on the next plane home.