Despite injury troubles, Totti recovered in time to join the national team for their victorious 2006 World Cup campaign, despite a lack of match practice during his three months on the sidelines. Italy manager Marcello Lippi showed enormous faith in Totti, assuring him during his rehabilitation that his spot in Italy’s World Cup squad was secure and to focus on recuperating. This encouragement and show of faith fueled Totti’s desire to work even harder to overcome what could have been a career-ending injury and make it to the World Cup against all odds (and much of the Italian media’s opinion). Totti did recuperate in time and was eventually named to Lippi’s final 23-man squad for the 2006 World Cup. Despite initial concerns over his match fitness, Totti was an important player in Marcello Lippi’s team, and played in all seven games for Italy, including the victorious final against France, which Italy won on penalties, although he was substituted off in the 61st minute. He played the entire time in Germany with metal plates and screws in his ankle that had yet to be removed following the surgery. Throughout the tournament, he usually played as an attacking midfielder, in front of deep-lying playmaker Andrea Pirlo, and behind strikers Luca Toni, Alberto Gilardino, Vincenzo Iaquinta, or Filippo Inzaghi; these players were supported defensively by Gennaro Gattuso, Simone Perrotta and Daniele De Rossi in midfield. Totti finished the tournament with the joint-highest number of assists, along with his teammate Pirlo, Juan Román Riquelme, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Luís Figo (4). Totti set up Pirlo’s goal from a short corner in Italy’s opening 2–0 win against Ghana, Marco Materazzi’s goal from a corner in Italy’s final group match, a 2–0 win against the Czech Republic, and two goals in a 3–0 win against Ukraine in the quarter-finals: the opener by Gianluca Zambrotta, and one of Luca Toni’s goals. Totti also scored a goal via an injury-time penalty in Italy’s 1–0 round of 16 win over Australia on 26 June, and was involved in Del Piero’s last-minute extra-time goal in the semi-final, which sealed a 2–0 victory for the Italians over hosts Germany, and a place in the World Cup final. Throughout the competition, Totti completed 185 passes and took 19 shots; in recognition of a successful tournament, he was selected for the 23-man All-Star Team.