Thursday, June 24, 2010

Champions Italy kicked out..

Group F, 14:00 GMT, June 24, 2010
Ellis Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

3 - 2

Champions Italy crashed out of the World Cup as first-time qualifiers Slovakia booked a surprising place in the second round after an epic game at Ellis Park.

Scoring Summary

Robert Vittek (25')Antonio Di Natale (81')
Robert Vittek (73')Fabio Quagliarella (90')
Kamil Kopunek (89') 

Man of the Match: Robert Vittek


  • Man of the Match: Robert Vittek - The joint-top scorer in South Africa demonstrated his poaching prowess once again but was also a constant menace with his off-the-ball running. He held the ball up brilliantly and was imperious in the air, winning plenty of headers. His two goals were just rewards for an excellent all-round display.

  • Slovakia verdict: Showed a distinct improvement after their defeat to Paraguay. Undoubtedly the greatest result in the country's short history. Vittek led the line well and the midfield showed fantastic energy right up to the end. Defensive errors must be cut out if further progress is to be made but it was a resolute performance and Vladimir Weiss's side fully deserve their place in the second round.

  • Italy verdict: A shocking first-half display and the concession of two-goals gave them far too much to do and it was too little too late in terms of the intense pressure in the final 15 minutes of the game. Quagliarella's introduction livened things up but there were far too many underperforming players in the team, something that the any new manager must address. It was an inglorious end of theAzzurri's tenure as champions and they were woeful throughout their three-game defence of the trophy.

  • Could do better: Fabio Cannavaro - Has looked a shadow of the player that won both the World Cup and World Player of the Year award in 2006 and was again out of his depth against Slovakia. Vittek caused him problems throughout and he was perhaps lucky to avoid a first-half sending off, having already been on a yellow. Will bow out of top-level football and may perhaps be more at home playing in Dubai next season.

  • Stat attack: It is the first time in World Cup history that the two losing finalists from the previous tournament have failed to progress from the group stage having competed.

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