Thursday, June 24, 2010

Italy eliminated as Paraguay and Slovakia go through

The World Cup champions were eliminated, a strong showing from Slovakia and bad play from the Italians ended up with them finishing bottom of the group. In the other match, New Zealand were able to hold Paraguay to a draw, giving them the third spot of the group after three draws.

Here's how group F stands:

Paraguay            (5)
Slovakia             (4)
New Zealand     (3)
Italy                   (2)

Italy's Fabio Cannavaro (L) comforts team mate Fabio Quagliarella at the end of their 2010 World Cup Group F soccer match against Slovakia at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg June 24, 2010. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Quagliarella crying with Cannavaro
consoling him
Slovakia - Italy

Robert Vittek gave Slovakia an early lead after some a bad pass by Daniele De Rossi, the Slovakian finished cooly in front of Marchetti. Vittek's second goal came in the second half after a good cross from Marek Hamsik which Vittek just tucked away. Moments after the goal Quagliarella came very close to a goal but Martin Skrtel managed to clear the Napoli striker's volley on the goal line.
The Azzurri managed to pick themselves up when Antonio Di Natale pulled one back for them from a rebound off of Quagliarella's shot after the Napoli striker was 1 on 1. At 2-1, they knew they only needed a second goal since Paraguay and New Zealand were locked at 0-0. Italy thought they made it when Quagliarella shoved the ball in the clear goal but his goal was disallowed for offside. Moments later they received a decisive punch: Kamil Kopunek lifted the ball over goalkeeper Marchetti into the gaping goal to make it 3-1. Quagliarella did manage to reduce the deficit for Italy with a beautiful chip from outside the box, but it wasn't enough for Italy. 

POLOKWANE, June 24, 2010 Paraguay's Claudio Morel (L) vies for the ball during the 2010 World Cup Group F soccer match against New Zealand at Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane, South Africa, June 24, 2010. The match tied 0-0 and Paraguay progressed to the next round.Paraguay - New Zealand

Clear-cut chances were few and far between throughout the game, and Paraguay captain Denis Caniza's long-range efforts in the opening half-hour were as close as anyone could seem to get early on in the match. New Zealand, who could have advanced with a victory, never got a good look at target and didn't manage a shot on goal against Justo Villar in the entire game.
Paraguay's best chance came in the 62nd minute when Cristian Riveros had a header from close-range turned away by New Zealand goalkeeper Mark Paston, who did well in the second half to keep Paraguay off the score sheet. He also had to be alert in the 76th minute as substitute Edgar Benítez had a shot saved, and Paston did well to touch away the rebound before Lucas Barrios could get on the end of it. It ended 0-0 with Paraguay going through to the next stages.

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