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Thursday, June 24, 2010
2010 World Cup: Italia 2 x Slovakia 3 from Ellis Park: Azzurri Eliminated in Disgrace
Tonight was Cannavaro's 136th and last cap for Italy.
An unfitting way for the great Azzurri captain to end his
stellar international career.
Please read his pre-match comments at Soccerlens.
In a make or break match from Johannesburg, the Azzurri held their own fate. They had to win to assure passage to the round of 16. Paraguay faced New Zealand at the same time from Pokowane.
Gattuso and Di Natale Started
Mister Lippi called on the old workhorse, Rino Gattuso, to shore up the midfield and lend his significant experience to the side. Antonio Di Natale also received the nod to start up front.
Marcello Lippi: Defiant as always.
Azzurri Starting XI: 4-3-3
Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Criscito
Gattuso, De Rossi, Montolivo
Pepe, Iaquinta, Di Natale.
Manager: Mr. Lippi
Slovakia Starting XI: 4-2-3-1
Pekavik, Skrtel, Durica, Zabarnik
Stoch, Hamsik, Jendrisek
Manager: Mr. Weiss
Match Official: Mr. Howard Webb of England.
The Azzurri initially showed some urgency and pushed forward. But without a playmaker, there was not sustained urgency or cohesion. Hamsik missed a great chance in the 6th minute with only Marchetti to beat. The Slovakians were creating space in the Italian half.
In the 25 minute, on a mistake by De Rossi, Vittek pounced and scored past Marchetti to the lower left post. This was the third shot on target by Italian opposition that resulted in a goal. Italy was playing without cohesion, organization or passion. Slovakia was playing with confidence and crispness.
Near the end of the half, Kucka almost closed the game with a shot from 30 meters that barely missed. Slovakia led at the half, 0 x 1. The Azzurri were at sixes and sevens.
Vittek scores for Slovakia.
Lippi made two changes: Maggio for Criscito and Quagliarella for Gattuso. Weiss of Slovakia made no changes. Di Natale had a great chance but couldn't put it past the keeper, In the 56th minute, Andrea Pirlo made his first appearance in South African for Montolivo.
Quagliarella appeared to score but it was cleared off the line by Skrtel. The whole ball looked over the goal line. But in the 74th minute, Vittek scored his second.
Di Natale scored in the 80th minute from a one-two with Iaquinta amidst confusion in the Slovakian area. Then controversy came. Quagliarella scored but it was whistled offside. The Azzurri seemed energized and moved forward for the equalizer.
But then it ended for good. Recent substitute, Kopunek, scored over Marchetti into an empty net. Quagliarella scored in injury time with a great effort with a chip but it was too little too late.
The Azzurri become the fourth defending champion not to advance from the group phase.
Well done, Slovakia.
Cannavaro and Quagliarella after the game.
The Napoli striker was one of the rare bright spots.
Match Highlight Video
Detailed Quotes by Marcello Lippi
Please read my commentary about this match at Soccerlens on Friday along with selected quotes from several players.
Image courtesy of La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"The worst Italy of all-time is out."
World Football Commentaries Home Page