Kamis, 24 Juni 2010

Group F: Champions Italy out as Paraguay & Slovakia move on

Surprisingly Group F is still open with defending champions Italy potentially facing a shock exit.

(matches to kick off simultaneously)

Slovakia - (1-0) Italy
Goals: 1-0,2-0 Robert Vittek (24',73'), 2-1 Antonio di Natale (81'), 3-1 Kamil Kopunek (89'), 3-2 Fabio Quagliarella (90+2').

Slovakia caused one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history by beating Italy 3-2 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. And with this defeat Italy finished bottom of their Group F.

The underdogs Slovakia took the initiative from the start, while Italy took a more wait and watch approach. The Slovaks took a deserving lead in the 24th minute through striker Robert Vittek as Juraj Kucka intercepted a Daniele de Rossi pass, played it on to Vittek who put the ball into the net past keeper Feredico Marchetti. And things didn't change before the break as Slovakia had more of the game.

After the break Italy had more of the game as the defending champions increased their efforts and their best chance came in the 67th minute as Martin Skrtel cleared the ball of the line of a Fabio Quagliarella effort. But after a square pass into the box Robert Vittek scored Slovakia's second in the 73rd minute. And in the last 10 minutes plus injury time it would be a clif hanger. First Italy reduced the deficit in the 81st minute through Antonio di Natale, then Italy had a goal disallowed by Fabio Quagliarella due to offside. Italy was pressing for the equaliser, but Slovakia then scored their third goal through an opportunistic Kamil Kopunek a minute from time. If you thought the game was over then one would have missed Fabio Quagliarella's long range effort two minutes into injury time over an advanced keeper Jan Mucha. And then came the long whistle and it was over for Italy while Slovakia was celebrating.

Paraguay 0-0 New Zealand
Goals: none.

Paraguay held underdogs New Zealand to a goalless draw at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane. For Paraguay the draw was enough to finish top of the group, while New Zealand played out their third draw and finished the tournament without a defeat. A great achievement for the Kiwis, who finished ahead of defending champions Italy.

Paraguay was the better of the two sides on display today. And captain Denis Caniza could have won the match for the South Americans in the first session missing numerous chances. After the break New Zealand did have a chance, but it wasn't enough from both sides to end the goal drought.

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