World Cup Group F: Arrivederci Italy, Hello Slovakia!
Arrivederci Italy! The 2006 champs finished last in World Cup Group F and exited the tournament with a 3-2 loss to Slovakia. The Slovakia team moves on to the next round.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Gallery Top 2010 World Cup controversies
Latest leader to redefine term limits: Senegal's President Wade
US troops against the LRA? A war worth winning
Congo election aftermath: some possible scenarios to avert crisis
Africa Rising: Carbon credits save Sierra Leone's Gola Rainforest
Eastern Congo braces for election results
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
An aging team in decline, personified by a lumbering performance by their once-great center half Fabio Cannavaro, lost 3-2 to a Slovakia team that attacked without fear and could have won by a wider margin.
The 2006 World Cup winners say "Arrivederci!" But they're not the only European giant to struggle in South Africa. France are already out, England came close, and Spain could also be heading home early if they fail to beat Chile tomorrow.
Few Italians thought they would fail to qualify from a group that looked easy on paper. But last week’s shock draw with New Zealand left the champions needing a win against a Slovakia side that also required three points if they were to progress to the second round.
It set up an entertaining match, with both sides creating chances early on. It was the Slovaks though, who took the lead. Robert Vittek finished smartly from the edge of the area after Daniele De Rossi had given the ball away carelessly, passing straight to Juraj Kucka.
The score remained 1-0 at half-time, although Italy were fortunate to still have 10 men on the field. Cannavaro somehow escaping a second yellow card after scything down Marek Hamsik just three minutes after picking up his first yellow.