World Cup: World Champions Italy Knocked Out By Slovakia

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Italy were expected to beat Slovakia today to advance through to the next round with ease, but things didn’t quite go as planned for the reigning champions.

Vittek fired Slovakia into the lead with twenty-five minutes to give the outsiders a shock lead. They held onto that lead until halftime and even after the break they looked comfortable, giving few chances and none of the ball to the Italians.

Vittek added a second with less than twenty minutes to go and the shock result seemed to be settled as a lack-luster Italy failed to impress. Di Natale pulled one back for the former champions though and that seemed to wake them up. They pushed for an equalizer and had a goal ruled offside in the process, but just when Slovakia seemed to be settling in for a defensive finale, they nipped up the other side of the pitch and added a third, with substitute Kopunek lobbing the ‘keeper.

Italy were deflated but did finish the game with one of the goals of the tournament when Quagliarella chipped the Goalkeeper from outside the box with a sweet and precise shot. A 3-2 defeat for the Italians in the end though and one that saw them fall out of the competition.

In the other game of the group New Zealand and Paraguay were locked in a 0-0 stalemate. Paraguay go through as the Group winners and New Zealand, the tournament outsiders, take 3 points away with them, finishing above Italy in the group.