Italy have kept their chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals alive after a comfortable 27-10 win over the USA in Nelson on Tuesday
The Italians scored four tries to one in the match, but could have put a lot more past the Eagles if it was not for some superb scrambling defence.
Italy now head into the Sunday night match against Ireland knowing what they need to do to secure a top two position in Pool C. The Azzurri will need to beat the Irish while also either denying them a bonus point or keeping the Irish to one bonus point and securing one themselves.
Italy scored the first try after three minutes after multiple phases saw No.8 Sergio Parisse accept a well timed pass by Cornelius van Zyl to run between the posts and dot down. Mirco Bergamasco converted to make it a 7-0 lead.
The Eagles gained replied after 18 minutes when captain Todd Clever won a lineout and centre Paul Emerick made a bust to set up fullback Chris Wyles for a try, which he converted himself to level the scores.
Bergamasco and Wyles exchanged penalties before Luciano Orquera ran through a narrow opening to score near the left post.
From a five metre scrum the Azzurri kept the ball alive for several phases before Castrogiovanni charged over the line, giving his team a 20-10 lead at the break.
The opening stages of the second half saw Italy hot on attack near the USA line, the Americans fighting to keep the dominant Italians from pushing the lead out. Eagles flanker Louis Stanfill was sin-binned after six strong Azzurri scrums sent the Americans back, but the USA managed to gather the ball after a mistake and send it to touch.
Another five-metre scrum soon followed and this time the Azzurri could not be denied, Irish referee George Clancy awardeding a penalty try which gave Italy the bonus-point try they desperately wanted.
That was the only scoring in a messy second half where the Italians did just enough and the Americans were starved of quality possession and territory.
Tries: Parisse, Orquera, Castrogiovanni, penalty try
Cons: Mirco Bergamasco (2)