Minggu, 20 Juni 2010

Group F: Strong Paraguay win, Kiwis hold Italy

Group F is wide open as both opening matches had ended one-all.

(to be updated after the second game)

Slovakia 0-2 (0-1) Paraguay
Goals: 0-1 Enrique Vera (27'), 0-2 Cistian Riveros (86').

Paraguay have strengthened their case for a pre-quarterfinal place with a 2-0 win against Slovakia at the Free State Stadium in in Bloemfontein. And it was deserving win for the Paraguayans.

The South Americans were the better of the two sides in the first forty-five minutes, but they were wasteful with their good chances. The Slovaks had no real chance in the first session as they were often running after their Paraguayan opponents. Paraguay took a deserving lead in the 27th minute and it was a quality goal. Paraguay build-up on the left, the ball comes to Lucas Barrios who plays a through ball into the middle, tunnelling a Slovak defender and Enrique Vera is there to score with the outside of his boot past the Slovak keeper Jan Mucha into the net. Roque Santa Cruz could have doubled the lead in the 39th minute but his shot is blocked by keeper Mucha.

After the break it was a more open game, but still Slovakia could not finish off their build-ups which were often stopped or blocked by Paraguay, who were not pushing to hard for a second goal. The Slovaks are unable to create any chances as Paraguay pick-up again late in the game. In the 73rd minute Santa Cruz on the left plays the ball cleverly back to Vera, whose header just goes wide with the Slovak keeper Mucha beaten. In the end Paraguay doubled their lead in the 86th minute when Cristian Riveros scored with a nice placed shot inside the box.

Italy - (1-1) New Zealand
Goals: 0-1 Shane Smeltz (7'), 1-1 Vincenzo Iaquinta (29', penalty).

The world champions Italy were held to a surprise one-all draw by minnows New Zealand at the Mbombela Stadium in Nespruit. Italy had more from the match, but the fighting Kiwis got a deserving draw.

The Kiwis took a shock 7th minute lead when striker Shane Smeltz scored off a free kick from Simon Elliott. Fabio Cannavaro tried to clear to ball, but it goes to Smeltz, who just puts the ball in past Federico Marchetti into the Italian goal. Thereafter it was mainly one way traffic towards the New Zealand goal, but the Italians once more played unimaginative football, having their chances but rather not being able to build on the pressure. Then in the 28th minute Ricardo Montolivo takes a shot on goal wish swerves onto the post with the keeper beaten. Only a minute later Tommy Smith grabs hold of Daniele de Rossi in the box and the referee Carlos Alberto Batres Gonzalez from Guatemala shows to the dreaded spot. Vincenzo Iaquinta takes the penalty and shots it to the right with the keeper going the other way. The favourites equalise.

After the break Italy come back with two substitutions Mauro Camoranesi and Antonio di Natale coming on to bring new life into the Italian attack. It remains mainly one way traffic, but the Italians find it difficult to break the Kiwi defence. And then suddenly New Zealand with a chance as Ivan Vicelich's effort from around 20 metres out just misses the goal. On the other side Ricardo Montolivo's shot is saved brilliantly by Mark Paston in the 71st minute. And once more a good chance for the Kiwis as teenager Chris Wood takes a shot on goal, but it just goes wide. That could have sealed one of the biggest upsets in a World Cup. On the other side just a minute from time Camoramesi takes a shot on goal, which Paston clears for a corner. In the end it stayed one-all and a historic draw for the Kiwis.

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