Substitute Francesco Totti scored a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time to give 10-man Italy a dramatic 1-0 win over Australia and a place in the World Cup quarter-finals on Monday.
Totti had sensationally been left out of the starting line-up by coach Marcello Lippi due to his lacklustre performances in the three first round matches.
But the Roma striker, who broke his left ankle in February and has only recently returned to action, settled a fiercely-contested second round tie by firing home from the spot after Lucas Neill had brought down Fabio Grosso.
Italy had Marco Materazzi sent off shortly after half time, but the three-time champions held on defiantly for a place in the last eight where they will meet either Switzerland or the Ukraine.
The victory, which extended Italy's unbeaten run to 21 internationals, went some way to making up for their second round defeat at the 2002 World Cup by South Korea, who were then coached by current Aussie manager Guus Hiddink.
Italy came close to opening the scoring in the third minute when Alessandro Del Piero's left-wing cross found Luca Toni at the back post, but the giant Fiorentina striker, Serie A's leading scorer last season with 31 goals, headed into the side-netting.
A superb sliding tackle by Luke Wilkshire on Alberto Gilardino snuffed out another Italy attack as the Aussies came under early pressure, before Mark Schwarzer was called into action twice in the space of three minutes.
First the Aussie keeper tipped Gilardino's scissor-kick over the bar and then his outstretched leg kept out Toni's low drive.
Australia mustered their first real threat in the 24th minute when Marco Bresciano dinked a free-kick into the box, but Mark Viduka's weak header was comfortably gathered by Gianluigi Buffon.
The Aussies' confidence grew and Buffon came to Italy's rescue on the half hour, getting down low to deny Scott Chipperfield.
Toni spurned a good chance in the 34th minute, heading over the bar after Simone Perrotta had flicked Andrea Pirlo's chipped pass across goal.
Gilardino made way for Vincenzo Iaquinta for the restart before Toni spurned a glorious chance, blazing over the bar from 12 yards after Del Piero's effort was blocked.
A moment of madness reduced Italy to ten men in the 50th minute as Materazzi crunched into Bresciano and Toni was sacrificed for defender Andrea Barzagli.
Buffon kept Italy's goal intact by punching clear Chipperfield's rasping shot while at the other end Pirlo's curled free-kick was palmed over by Schwarzer.
Totti replaced Del Piero in the 75th minute as Italy tried to liven up their attacking options, and just as the match appeared to be heading for extra time, he decided the match.
Grosso was sent tumbling in the box and up stepped the number 10 to send the Azzurri fans wild with joy.