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World Cup 2010: Italy Out As They Lose 3-2 and End Up Bottom of Group

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 24:  Vincenzo Iaquinta of Italy reacts to a missed chance during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group F match between Slovakia and Italy at Ellis Park Stadium on June 24, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/ Grazia Neri/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/ Grazia Neri/Getty Images
Daniel GoochAnalyst IJune 24, 2010

Italy has been knocked out of the World Cup in the group stages. They were beaten 3-2 in their last group game and finish bottom of the table.

Italy was one of the favorites to go till the end. They have fallen at the first hurdle.

They have finished at the bottom of Group F behind New Zealand, Slovakia, and Paraguay.

Marcello Lippi's dream of winning the Cup again has been cut short. They follow France back home after not qualifying for the last 16 in the tournament.

Everyone thought France was a shock going out, but this is even more astonishing.

All credit to Slovakia. They were competitive right from the start and didn't give up until the final whistle.

The game was great to watch all the way through, but stepped up a level in the last quarter. Four goals were scored in the last 15 minutes, where anything could have happened.

Slovakia was clearly the better side in the first half and should have taken the lead in the first few minutes. 

Slovakia dominated the possession and after 25 minutes they took the lead through Robert Vittek. Daniele De Rossi cheaply gave the ball away, where the ball was fed into the path of Vittek, who slid the ball into the far corner.

Seven minutes later Slovakia almost doubled their lead in dramatic style. Strba struck a thunderbolt of a strike from 30 yards out, that somehow managed to deflect away from the goal.

Moments later, Iaquinta headed the ball over the cross bar and wasted a glorious opportunity for Italy to equalize.

In the last few moments of the first half, Kucka struck a sweet volley that flew inches wide of the post. Italy was very lucky to end the first half only being down one goal.

Vittek doubled their lead from close range in the 73rd minute following a corner kick.

Then there was a feast of goals in the last 10 minutes. 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.

The game marked the end of an era for Italy captain, Fabio Cannavaro and Gennaro Gattuso, who announced their retirement from the national team after the tournament. Coach Marcello Lippi is also moving on.

 

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