JOHANNESBURG — Defending champion Italy was eliminated Thursday from the World Cup with a humbling 3-2 loss to Slovakia, which advanced.
Slovakia finished second in Group F to Paraguay. The Italians were last, the first time they’ve ever finished at the bottom of an opening-round group.
For the third consecutive game, the Azzurri allowed an early goal and this time they never recovered.
Robert Vittek put Slovakia ahead in the 25th minute, taking advantage of an errant pass from midfielder Daniele De Rossi. Vittek doubled the lead from close range in the 73rd following a corner kick.
Antonio Di Natale scored for Italy in the 81st, but Kamil Kopunek ended Italy’s chances eight minutes later, even though Fabio Quagliarella scored in injury time for the four-time champions.
It marked the end of an era for Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro and Gennaro Gattuso, who already announced their retirement from the national team after the tournament. Coach Marcello Lippi is also moving on, with Cesare Prandelli already chosen as his successor.
Italy’s squad featured nine players 30 or over and Prandelli will be charged with a major overhaul.
Never have the previous World Cup finalists both failed to advance in the next tournament when both qualified. France, which lost to Italy on penalty kicks for the 2006 title, went out earlier this week in
Slovakia plays Monday in Durban against the winner of Group E. Many of the Slovak players were in tears at the end of the match, and the reserves gathered in a circle, jumping up and down in celebration. It is the first World Cup for Slovakia as an independent nation.
Slovakia finished with a win, a draw and a loss for four points. Italy had two draws and Thursday’s bitter defeat.
Italy also allowed early goals in its 1-1 draws with Paraguay and New Zealand and the Azzurri attack struggled in all three games — save for the final 10 minutes against Slovakia, when the Italians got desperate.
Puyol puts Spain first time ever in World Cup final
Netherlands jumps into Final by restricting Uruguay 3-2 [Video]
Netherlands , finally go through the FIFA World Cup™ Final last night. People were not expecting such a semi-final from Uruguay side but they have played well with so much strong heart.
Germany will take on Spain in the second semi-final in Durban this evening in a repeat of the UEFA EURO 2008 final. The Spanish prevailed then but no team has looked more impressive so far in South Africa than the Germans, who put four past England in the Round of 16 and then dished out similar treatment to Argentina in the quarter-finals. Their upcoming opponents did not look quite as impressive in disposing of Portugal and Paraguay in the same rounds, the European champions edging through on both occasions thanks to opportunistic strikes by striker David Villa.
Netherlands vs Uruguay Goals
Semi Final stage FIFA 2010
Table has just turned around towards Europeans , 3 Euro teams qualified for Semi-Finals [ Germany , Spain and Holland ] whereas, just one team of South – America [ Uruguay ] came into Semi-Finals leaving behind big giants Argentina and Brazil.
Germany Match really hit Argentinians badly by 4 – Nill , in reaction to this Maradona got frustrated and engaged offensively with German Fans.
Lets see , what would happen in Semi-Finals.
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