Day 14 Recap

June 24, 2010 - 06082946 date 28 10 2009 Copyright imago BPI A dejected Fabio Cannavaro of Italy is consoled After their defeat to Slovakia and Early Exit From The 2010 World Cup PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxFRAxNEDxESPxSWExPOLxCHNxJPN Football men World Cup National team international match Johannesburg Action shot Vdig xkg 2009 vertical Highlight premiumd Football.

Group F

Slovakia 3 – Italy 2

Defending champions Italy have now only made it past the group stage once during their last three tournaments, Euro 2008 being the only successful attempt. With New Zealand drawing 0-0, the Italians only needed a draw to advance but for most of the game did not even appear capable of picking up any points.

Slovakia’s first goal was a gift from Daniele De Rossi, who turned the ball over just outside his own penalty area (Robert Vittek – 25th) and lack defending from Giorgio Chiellini gave Vittek another (73rd). Once the bullish Gennaro Gattuso (his resume reads – capable of kicking ankles, knees, and sometimes even the ball!) was subbed off, the Italian attack did come alive.

Antonio Di Natale (81st) put in a deflected shot and Fabio Quagliarella beat the keeper with a chip from outside the box (90th).

But before Quagliarella scored, the underdogs had found the net again. Substitute Kamil Kopunek’s very first touch ended up as a goal. His tap over the Italian goalkeeper made for what seemed a safe 3-1 lead. Once Qualiagerella’s golaso went in, doubts may have crept into the Slovak’s minds. Deep into stoppage time Pepe had a chance to equalize, but a long throw-in left him wrong-footed and his awkward shot went wide.

New Zealand 0 – Paraguay 0

Not content to settle for a tie that was guaranteed to see them through, Paraguay attacked from the first whistle. They were never rewarded with a goal, though a 76th minute sequence saw them denied twice on shots inside the box. New Zealand were also capable of advancing with a draw but would need to outscore Italy and hope that Slovenia and Italy tied. Had the Kiwis been able to pick up a single goal, they would have advanced. They failed to record a goal for the first time this tournament but should still go home proud. Many pundits didn’t expect them to score, much less draw twice – including against the current cup holders.

Group E

Japan 3 – Denmark 1

Japan were the side only in need of a tie, but they were the more adventurous squad in the first half. They couldn’t score from the run of play but two free kicks (Honda 17th and Endo 31st) were enough to put them through. Denmark continued to attack even when there appeared to be no hope and their 80th minute converted penalty (Jon Dahl Tomasson had to put in his own miss) gave them some life. But seven minutes later Okazaki put the matter to rest by converting Honda’s excellent service.

Cameroon 1 – Netherlands 2

Cameroon were already eliminated and the Netherlands all but assured of first place, so the match’s only real import was the appearance of Arjen Robben. Bayern Munich’s star winger had been out with an injured hamstring and when he’s in the lineup, the Dutch are a vastly more dangerous team. He proved his worth by setting up Klaas Jan Huntelaar for their second goal (83rd). Robin van Persie notched the first (36th) and Samuel Eto’o coolly took his penalty to give African fans some manner of joy (64th).

Slovakia and the Netherlands will meet on Monday with Japan and Paraguay meeting on Tuesday.

4 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Matt says:

    The Italians are out, the French are out… the two embarrassments to the soccer world are finally gone. This could be the best World Cup EVER.

  2. bensten says:

    Not to be negative, but yes, there is something very refreshing about these new and surprising faces in the knockout rounds. The world is catching up to the “big boys” of football, and said big boys–especially the Europeans–better stay on their toes…

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