2010 FIFA World Cup: arrivederci Italia!

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Sunday, June 27, 2010
Kamil Kopúnek's late goal against Italy helped propel Slovakia into the round of 16
Image: Stefan Heinisch (Flickr).

Slovakia eliminated defending champions Italy from the World Cup. First round groups E and F were decided on Thursday: Japan, Paraguay and the Netherlands progress alongside Slovakia.

When a team finishes third or fourth in a group, they are on their way home. After the elimination of France, runners-up in 2006, it was the turn of the reigning champions. Slovakia met Italy in their first World Cup finals as an independent country.

After 81 minutes, the Azzuri (Italy) were down by two goals, both struck by Róbert Vittek, when they got one back. They were denied a chance to equalize by a rebound from a Slovak knee on the goal line.

Their next goal was disallowed as offside. The Slovaks strengthened their lead when a gross positioning error by Italy led to a goal from a corner. Italy scored their second goal in the closing moments of the game, but it wasn't enough, and the Azzuri were out of the tournament.

For the fourth time in history, the reigning world champion was eliminated in the first round. The previous occasions were Italy in 1950, Brazil in 1966 and France in 2002.

Also on Thursday, Japan achieved a surprise 3 – 1 defeat of Denmark. This, along with their victory over Cameroon on June 14, secured their qualification. Paraguay stamped their ticket for the round of sixteen in a nil–nil draw with New Zealand's All Whites. The draw gave New Zealand a point to take them ahead of Italy, finishing Group F in third place. The All Whites leave the tournament undefeated, recalling Cameroon's elimination in 1982 after three draws, pipped by Italy on goals scored. The Netherlands beat Cameroon, securing Group E's first place.

Who do you tip to progress to the quarter finals?


Group E

Jun 24
Cameroon 1 - 2 Netherlands Stadium: Green Point Stadium, Le Cap
Attendance: 63,000
Referee: Pablo Pozo
Booked after 25 minutes 25' Nkoulou

Penalty scored after 65 minutes 65' Eto'o
Booked after 81 minutes 81' Mbia

Report (BBC) Booked after 17 minutes 17' Kuyt

Scored after 36 minutes 36' Van Persie
Booked after 64 minutes 64' Van der Vaart
Booked after 69 minutes 69' Van Bronckhorst
Scored after 84 minutes 84' Huntelaar

Jun 24
Denmark 1 - 3 Japan Stadium: Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
Attendance: 27,967
Referee: Jérôme Damon
Booked after 29 minutes 29' Kröldrup

Booked after 48 minutes 48' Poulsen
Booked after 66 minutes 66' Bendtner
Scored after 81 minutes 81' Tomasson

Report (FIFA.com) Booked after 12 minutes 12' Endo

Scored after 17 minutes 17' Honda
Booked after 26 minutes 26' Nagatomo
Scored after 30 minutes 30' Endo
Scored after 87 minutes 87' Okazaki

Group F

Jun 24
Slovakia 3 - 2 Italy Stadium: Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
Attendance: 53,412
Referee: Howard Melton Webb
Booked after 17 minutes 17' Strba

Scored after 24 minutes 24' Vittek
Booked after 39 minutes 39' Vittek
Scored after 73 minutes 73' Vittek
Booked after 50 minutes 50' Pekarik
Scored after 89 minutes 89' Kopunek
Booked after 82 minutes 82' Mucha

Report (FIFA.com) Booked after 30 minutes 30' Cannavaro

Booked after 67 minutes 67' Chiellini
Scored after 81 minutes 81' Di Natale
Booked after 76 minutes 76' Pepe
Booked after 83 minutes 83' Quagliarella
Scored after 90+2 minutes 90+2' Quagliarella

Jun 24
Paraguay 0 - 0 New Zealand Stadium: Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Attendance: 34,850
Referee: Yuichi Nishimura
Booked after 10 minutes 10' Caceres

Booked after 41 minutes 41' Santa Cruz

Report (FIFA.com) Booked after 56 minutes 56' Nelsen