BBC Sport world-cup-2010


Slovakia 3-2 Italy

By Chris Whyatt & Jonathan Stevenson
  1. 09:00 Commentary  

    Rejuvenated? Through to the last 16 with that charmingly heroic, Indiana Jones-style win over Slovenia - but ultimately by the skin of their teeth - England are. Without doubt. So how much optimism is coursing through your veins on this morning after the night before...

  2. 09:05 Commentary  

    Steven Gerrard can often look like he's just been given a parking ticket. So how thrilling it was to see him with a genuine smile plastered across his face after captaining England, and playing with real class, into the knockout stages. The reaction of his manager Fabio Capello after the match perhaps said even more. Is he from San Canzian d'Isonzo or South Shields?

  3. 09:19 Commentary  

    Germany. Yes, it's Germany up next for England. No, I'm not kidding. The legendary Franz Beckenbauer - a World Cup winner as both player and coach for Germany - has already had his say on Sunday's match in Bloemfontein. "A game like this should be a semi-final, not a last-16 game," he told Bild newspaper. "Stupidly, the English have slipped up a little by finishing second in their group."

  4. 09:25 Commentary  

    "Wayne Rooney can explode any time." That's the verdict - in terms of talent not temperament - of Germany's cardigan-wearing coach Joachim Loew, who insists his evolving young side will face a tough job against England. Rooney I can tell you, who was substituted after twisting his ankle, is absolutely fine this morning. He's undergoing light training in the gym with the rest of the squad who took to that bumpy field in Port Elizabeth last night.

  5. 09:42 Commentary  

    Some housekeeping folks: the United States, for whom a tearful Landon Donovan grabbed a dramatic last-minute winner against Algeria to top England's group, face Ghana for a place in the quarter finals. What a winner from Germany's young gun Mesut Ozil against Ghana, can I point out. He's now drawing comparisons with Argentine genius Lionel Messi in some quarters. Bit early for that kind of talk though, no?

  6. 09:58 Commentary  

    Are you already eyeing an England versus Argentina quarter final then? Think the defending champions Italy are about to get knocked out today [more on that soon]? Do get in touch people. Text me on 0793... Only joking. It's 81111 (if you're in the UK) or +44 7786200666 (if you're 'worldwide'). Or join the debate on 606. And I was wondering. What's the atmosphere like in your office/classroom/field/lorry/lecture theatre/chemistry lab this morning?

  7. 10:03 Commentary  

    Over in Port Elizabeth, England fans are soaking up the warm afterglow of victory. And in the right fashion. Police officials there had riot squad officers on stand-by for the match against Slovenia. But happily, they had a lazy evening. The city's police commander Colonel Vishnu Naidoo said: "There were no arrests and, except for the fact that there was much revelry, there were few problems to report."

  8. World Cup Have Your Say  

    Ghana fan Hornsby: "England would have been a perfect match for us. They've not really proved themselves. They would have been more manageable than the USA - they keep going to the end, and yesterday their goal came out of nothing. I don't think the Ghanaians are ready for that."

  9. Twitter  

    rob_cantarero: "I genuinely think that England can beat Germany. Their win over Australia flattered them: they are NOT that brilliant."

  10. SMS  

    Charlotte, 'trying to revise', in Leominster: "You could hear a pin drop in our common room its sooooo quiet. Except there is an annoying person sat next to me talking about JUGGLING! Who cares about that! if you are going to talk, talk about football!"

  11. 10:25 Commentary  

    Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is on BBC Radio 5 live. Thinks England will go with the same starting XI on Sunday. And he's confident [also, spot him paraphrasing Shania Twain]: "I don’t think this is one of the great Germany teams. I like Ozil but other areas of the team don’t impress me much. I feared we'd have more problems with Ghana."

  12. 10:38 Commentary  

    Ah, yes. Kick off is at 1500 BST on Sunday. Without coming over all pushy salesman, it is likely that England will come to a bit of a standstill when its footballers line up to face Germany. Fixtures in other sports are already being switched to accommodate the match. Castleford and Bradford have agreed to bring their Super League clash forward by four hours to 1130 BST.

  13. 10:55 Commentary  

    How are the German camp feeling ahead of the England match then, a contest so rich in history that Simon Schama's probably knocking up a quick documentary on it as we speak? Here's team manager Oliver Bierhoff: "Perhaps it is an advantage not to be the absolute favourite against England." And their captain Philipp Lahm: "The duel against England is of course a classic. The anticipation ahead of it is huge. We are looking ahead with confidence. But we know that we have to do some things better."

  14. SMS  

    Hash from Kuwait: "I think England could stumble all the way to the final, exactly like France did in 2006. Every team needs a bit of luck to win the World Cup."

  15. 11:03 Commentary  

    Lazarus-like return for Ledley King? Maybe. He's returned to the training ground this morning, raising hopes he may recover from a groin strain in time to be considered for the match against Germany. As ever though, he didn't do any contact work and was restricted to an individual session.

  16. 11:09 Commentary  

    Heartbreak! Imagine a power cut scuppering your chances of seeing the key moment of yesterday's match. And, as you sit there staring wantonly at a dead screen, getting a text from a mate in Swindon telling you that Jermain Defoe has ruthlessly put England 1-0 up. Well. That's what happened to Dec [of Ant and Dec fame], and hundreds of others in west London.

  17. Twitter  

    BBC sports news correspondent Dan Roan: "Just been chatting to Sir Trevor Brooking at England training. 'This is what you dream of. Just wish I was playing on Sunday', he whispers..."

  18. 11:27 Commentary  

    Always a good giggle (and insightful to boot), BBC Radio 5 live's Danny Baker jokes that he's already been ticking off the England-Germany cliches on a checklist he carries with him. He also points out, a little more seriously: "England are not yet good enough to go home. It doesn't take Colombo or Miss Marple to spot the pattern - we start disappointingly, get worse, then gradually get better as the wheels on the locomotive really start turning - until we play brilliantly. Then we go home."

  19. 11:36 Commentary  

    Anyone thinking of a last-minute dash to take in the action in South Africa? A friend told me that online agencies are selling tickets for the Germany match for between £160 and £380. Someone also said economy class flight to Bloemfontein, heading out Saturday, are about £500. This is just word of mouth though. Get in touch if you've got any wacky travel plans mapped out...

  20. SMS  

    Anonymous [asking to be anonymous!]: "Just started my new job as a Spanish teacher. Official word from on high was to not show the game... so my new boss and I turned the sound off and commentated in Spanish! !Gooool de Defoe! !Gol gol gol! Kids loved it."

  21. 11:46 Commentary  

    Quick breaking news line for you: Otto Rehhagel has quit as Greece coach. He, of course, led them to that remarkable tournament win at Euro 2004. But they were both unwatchable and ineffective as they crashed out of this World Cup at the first hurdle.

  22. SMS  

    Douglas from Tynemouth: "Due to be on safari in Botswana on Sunday with the family. Might see if I can persuade the driver to take the 'scenic route' and head a little further south."

  23. SMS  

    Clare in Chislehurst: "As a Kiwi living in London I'm unable to concentrate on any work this morning! Completely over excited and hopelessly optimistic..."

  24. 11:59 Commentary  

    There's an ocean of reaction to England's shimmy towards the knockout stages to swim in. But once you resurface, let's not forget that defending champions Italy could get knocked out of the World Cup today. They must beat Slovakia at 1500 BST to guarantee a place in the quarter-finals. Should they fail, New Zealand - who held the Azzurri to a stunning 1-1 draw on Sunday - could deny them with a win against Paraguay. In short, all to play for in Group F.

  25. 12:13 Commentary  

    Trouble brewing in Italy? Gazzetta dello Sport poll had 69 per cent of readers suggesting their captain Fabio Cannavaro should be dropped. There's a nice description of the state of play in the Telegraph today: "Like some venerable Neapolitan monument, Cannavaro is still standing, still radiating an aura - but Italy finds it painful, sad and not a little alarming to see that the edifice is crumbling." Do his woes reflect a wider crisis for Marcello Lippi's side...

  26. Contributor BBC Sport's Dan Walker  

    On Twitter: "I don't know if Fabio is on Twitter, but if he is... do you think he should go with Carragher or Upson?"

  27. 12:34 Commentary  

    Lots of talk on 606 that the Italians could again struggle for creativity if AC Milan's playmaker-from-deep Andrea Pirlo is missing once more through injury. Well, he's on bench for the holders crucial final Group E game against Slovakia. He can certainly ping a pass that lad. "We need to be better in attack," admits boss Lippi. "Pirlo will be among the substitutes.”

  28. 12:48 Commentary  

    Back on the England front. Capello's iron discipline was rumoured to be strangling the camp as tensions near-erupted after the Algeria shambles. But then: “They drank beer before the Slovenia match," reveals the Italian. "And I saw the team play with the spirit that we [had] lost in the games we played before." Those watching England (and playing for?!!!) against Germany take note... Bloemfontein is dry on a Sunday.

  29. 12:58 Commentary  

    Do you remember that 'Lowest Header in the World' feature with which Skinner and Baddiel tickled us in that hazy post-1996 Fantasy Football era? Here's John Terry's must-watch entry as he attempts to block Slovenian shots at any price. Questionable socks. Total commitment.

  30. SMS  

    Harry in SE21: "Mum's a Kiwi, Dad's Italian.. diplomatic draw at the weekend was good for relations at home, but I'm hoping for two big wins today for the Blues and Whites. Three teams in the next round please, I don't like work anyway."

  31. SMS  

    Tommy from Runcorn: "Why oh why do the English media report what Franz Beckenbauer has to say. 'Kick and rush' last week and 'stupid' this morning. Still, at least Capello doesn't have to do a team talk now. Just pin the reports to the wall."

  32. 13:15 Commentary  

    Can I indulge you for a moment? Spain's progression to the last 16 hinges on what will be a nervous final Group H match against Chile tomorrow evening. But the European champions might be able to puncture the pressure with an outrageous slice of skill like this, from Juan Mata in the warm-up for their 2-0 win over Honduras. 'Megs...

  33. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher  

    On Twitter: "I'm hearing that Carlos Tevez has got Lionel Messi feeling the Oasis vibe. I wonder if he knows they have split up?"

  34. 13:33 Commentary  

    England's match-winner against Slovenia, Jermain Defoe, is speaking to the media right now: "It would have been nice to play Ghana to be honest. [But] it's important not to think about the history or previous matches over the years. We just need to be confident. It's important to approach the Germany match like any other game. The lads are buzzing after the performance yesteday. The spirit is great."

  35. 13:39 Commentary  

    More Defoe for you (who has just admitted England have been practising penalties every day): "In a massive tournament it's normal to start off a little tense. We were more relaxed yesterday. The work rate and the team shape was spot on. We're a great side, we showed that yesterday. But we aren't looking beyond the next game. Our huddle after the Slovenia match was spontaneous. Everyone was screaming. It was a great moment. Capello is a winner."

  36. 13:53 Commentary  

    Right, Defoe's done his press duties now. Nothing ground-breaking but he spoke with real pride and did admit that some players would have prefered to play Ghana next, rather than Germany. We move on. Manish Bhasin and the rest of the BBC's Football Focus team are reviewing the all the action from South Africa, which you can follow right here. Motty and 'Arry are there too!

  37. SMS  

    Anonymous 'on a train to work in New York': "The England team is like the Indian cricket team of a few years back - a bunch of individual superstars unable to play as a cohesive unit."

  38. Contributor BBC Sport's James Pearce  

    On Twitter: "S Africans always so cheery. 'Welcome to my office' says the cleaner, with big smile on face, as I walk into toilets at Jo'burg airport."

  39. SMS  
    Short on skill, big on guts. Come on boys lets have another big performance. Brent. Kiwi in london
  40. 14:00 Commentary  

    Right, that's it from me Chris Whyatt. Italy, Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand. It's over to you. Oh, and Jonathan Stevenson in Johannesburg...

  41. 14:07 Commentary  

    Lone furrow = ploughed. Well done Chris Whyatt. Now then you, this World Cup is starting to take shape, isn’t it? By tonight, we will know 12 of the 16 teams that will take part in the next round of the tournament. But, dear friends, will Italy be one of them? From Johannesburg, you’re with Jonathan Stevenson. I trust you’ve enjoyed your day this far?

  42. 14:10 Commentary Slovakia v Italy line-ups:  

    Slovakia: 1-Jan Mucha; 2-Peter Pekarik, 3-Martin Skrtel, 16-Jan Durica, 5-Radoslav Zabavnik, 6-Zdeno Strba, 15-Miroslav Stoch, 17-Marek Hamsik, 11-Robert Vittek, 19-Juraj Kucka, 18-Erik Jendrisek.
    Italy: 12-Federico Marchetti; 19-Gianluca Zambrotta, 5-Fabio Cannavaro, 4-Giorgio Chiellini, 3-Domenico Criscito, 22-Riccardo Montolivo, 6-Daniele De Rossi, 8-Gennaro Gattuso, 9-Vincenzo Iaquinta, 7-Simone Pepe, 10-Antonio Di Natale.
    Referee: Howard Webb (England)

  43. 14:11 Commentary Paraguay v New Zealand line-ups:  

    Paraguay: 1-Justo Villar; 4-Denis Caniza, 5-Julio Cesar Caceres, 14-Paulo Da Silva, 3-Claudio Morel, 13-Enrique Vera, 15-Victor Caceres, 16-Cristian Riveros, 9-Roque Santa Cruz, 18-Nelson Valdez, 7-Oscar Cardozo.
    New Zealand: 1-Mark Paston; 4-Winston Reid, 6-Ryan Nelsen, 5-Ivan Vicelich, 19-Tommy Smith, 3-Tony Lochhead, 11-Leo Bertos, 7-Simon Elliot, 10-Chris Killen, 14-Rory Fallon, 9-Shane Smeltz.
    Referee: Yuichi Nishimura (Japan)

  44. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Ellis Park  

    "Quite a few people already in their seats here as expectancy builds to what could be a dramatic afternoon. Then again, Italy might just start to click and register the victory that would guarantee qualification. They make two changes, with Gennaro Gattuso and Antonio Di Natale in for Claudio Marchisio and Alberto Gilardino."

  45. 14:16 Commentary More Slovakia v Italy team news:  

    Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss makes four changes for a game his side have to win, replacing son Vladimir, Jan Kozak, Stanislav Sestak and Kornel Salata with Jan Durica, Miroslav Stoch, Juraj Kucka and Erik Jendrisek. Italy, by the way, have midfield schemer Andrea Pirlo available as a substitute for the first time following a calf injury.

  46. 14:19 Commentary Paraguay v New Zealand team news:  

    Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino, perhaps mindful his side need only draw against New Zealand to secure their progress into the last 16, makes three changes for his side's crunch match in Polokwane, drafting in defenders Denis Caniza and Julio Cesar Caceres along with striker Oscar Cardozo. New Zealand boss Rikki Herbert, meanwhile, sticks with the starting XI that held defending champions Italy to a 1-1 draw on Sunday in the hope they can go one better and earn the win that will see them as shock qualifiers for the second round.

  47. 14:22 Commentary  

    You gonna be shy all your life, or you gonna drop me a little line? I've bared my footballing soul to you, it's time for you to do likewise. Text me on 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666, whack me a Tweet @Stevo_football, and enter the wonderfully frank world of 606 too. Pronto.

  48. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Ellis Park  

    "First out of the tunnel for Italy ahead of their warm-up? You got it, the mad one himself Gennaro Gattuso, sprinting across the turf like a pitbull in pursuit of someone who would really rather be anywhere else."

  49. 14:28 Commentary  

    I’ll be honest - I’m absolutely buzzing. In a five-minute spell that I hope none of you ever, ever see, earlier I did a live segment on Brazilian breakfast television, talking about ‘Sitting with the Samba Boys’ in their game against Ivory Coast on Sunday. I have newfound admiration for anyone who has been on the telly ever before. My word it's hot in them there studios.

  50. SMS  

    Bobby D, Ilkley: "Come on Smeltzy, keep alive the opportunity for mentions of the mighty Halifax Town."

  51. Twitter  

    From ColinBoucher: "Times like these is why football is great. Who would have thought NZ and Italy would be level on points going into last game?"

  52. 14:36 Contributor  

    The great Garth Crooks is sitting just behind me, so I asked him, for you our loyal readers, whether we can expect Italy to exit the World Cup today. "Italy? No chance. They do what they have to do," said the Tottenham legend. So there you have it.

  53. 606  

    From deep: "Uruguay, South Korea, Ghana or the US will be in the semi-finals of the World Cup. That is awesome."

  54. Twitter  

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter: "At the game Bill Clinton told me ‘football connects people’. I couldn't agree more, it's what the World Cup's about."

  55. Commentary Italy coach Marcello Lippi:  

    "We haven't been tormented by this wait, the confidence is there. We haven't done that well so far and we must do better. But we don't want this to be our last game. My lads have a great spirit and we just have to improve, especially in attack."

  56. Commentary Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss:  

    "Every match is a joy because it's a possibility to make us visible at the World Cup. We said before that we are not just here for a trip and we still have a hope to progress. But we are playing against the holders of the title, so it will be a difficult match. We want to be bold but rational because our opponents are the reigning champions."

  57. SMS  

    Jason, Akl, NZ: "Half of NZ is awake for the 2am kick-off here. The other half live in London! Go the All-Whites! Already have done so much to make us proud."

  58. Commentary Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino:  

    "New Zealand have a different style to that of Italy but they also create other types of complications. We have a lot of respect for their physicality as they know how to exploit this. I can't imagine any coach who is not aware of this. I don't think it is going to be easy in any way."

  59. Commentary New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert:  

    "We are going to go through the wringer. I can only say the heart will be on the sleeve and the performance will be as much as we can possibly give. If it is good enough to take us through - fantastic. If not then we will still be proud. The players are relaxed but confident."

  60. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Ellis Park  

    "Who would have thought that this would be a game with so much at stake? Italy have not gone out at the group stage since 1974, apparently."

  61. 14:55 Commentary  

    Shhhh at the back please. Say it loud and sing it proud for the national anthems: Il Canto degli Italiani, Nad Tatrou sa blyska, Paraguayos, República o Muerte and God Defend New Zealand.

  62. 14:58 Commentary  

    Anthems done and we're moments away from kick-off in the Group F double header. Where's ya money? Not incidentally, as it stands at kick-off, Italy and New Zealand will be drawing lots. As will be the case if the two teams get the same result in drawing today.

  63. 15:00 KICK-OFF Slovakia v Italy  

    Under way at Ellis Park as the holders take on Slovakia.

  64. 15:00 KICK-OFF Paraguay v New Zealand  

    And a few moments later they are under way in Polokwane as Paraguay take on New Zealand.

  65. 606  

    From Hypernovae: "Despite having reservations about their creativity, I can't see anything other than a slim Italian victory today. As the old saying goes, form is temporary but class is permanent, and I think Italy's pedigree will see them through... just."

  66. 15:03 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    First sight of goal for Italy striker Vincenzo Iaquinta, but he slices wide from an angle on the left of the box after being played in by Antonio Di Natale.

  67. 15:06 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    You know when Ahn Jung-Hwan scored against Italy in 2002 and his Perugia club president told him he never wanted him to play for them again? Well Napoli's Marek Hamsik almost scored against the country he plays in, only for the midfielder to volley wide from 16 yards. Probably should have hit the target.

  68. 15:08 Commentary Paraguay v New Zealand  

    Paraguay are having lots of the early possession in front of what looks nothing like a full house in Polokwane, but no real chances as of yet.

  69. 15:10 YELLOW CARD Paraguay v New Zealand  

    Paraguay's Victor Caceres treads on the ankle of New Zealand's Rory Fallon and he picks up his second booking of the World Cup, meaning he would miss a potential last-16 tie should his team make it.

  70. Twitter  

    From yedaw1: "Get the ball in the box and Rory Fallon will do the rest. New Zealand getting through is what the World Cup is all about."

  71. 15:14 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    Erik Jendrisek wins a header against Giorgio Chiellini, but the Slovakian lands heavily on his side and gets up a bit groggily. Italy aren't offering much right now, if I'm honest. Marek Hamsik's cross from the left is cut out by Federico Marchetti with Robert Vittek waiting to pounce.

  72. 15:16 YELLOW CARD Slovakia v Italy  

    Slovakia's Zdenko Strba goes in a little late and a little naughtily on Rino Gattuso and he catches the midfielder, picking up a booking that would rule him out of a potential last-16 clash in the process.

  73. SMS  

    From Doug: "Got married in Sardinia to a local girl Saturday - watched my Kiwi boys give Italy the fright of their lives Sunday with all her friends and family. Still here and still married, but who knows what will happen if we dump them out today...! Come on the All-Whites!"

  74. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Pat Nevin in Polokwane:  

    "Paraguay are finding it very difficult to get behind NZ. Every time they attack, they are confronted by a black wall. Paraguay are going down at every opportunity. They know NZ are a physical side and they are trying to play on that."

  75. 15:20 Commentary Paraguay v New Zealand  

    Paraguay go close to breaking the deadlock when captain Denis Caniza slices a 20-yard shot narrowly wide after great work by Roque Santa Cruz.

  76. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat at Ellis Park:  

    "Slovakia have to be careful giving away free-kicks as these deep balls into the box will eventually find Iaquinta and we've already seen him link up well with Di Natale."

  77. 15:24 GOAL Slovakia 1-0 Italy  

    I was just about to say Slovakia do look dangerous... they've only gone and taken the lead, haven't they? Daniele De Rossi gives the ball away and Marek Hamsik slips a little pass in for Robert Vittek on the edge of the Italian box, the striker sliding a shot into the corner past Federico Marchetti's despairing dive.

  78. Commentary GROUP F AS IT STANDS:  

    ITALY ARE OUT OF THE WORLD CUP. Slovakia and Paraguay are going through.

  79. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat at Ellis Park:  

    "It was an awful mistake by Italy, giving the ball away. It was switched to Vittek and he hit a beautifully placed shot. Not even sure Buffon would have saved that. What an opportunity now for Slovakia."

  80. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Pat Nevin in Polokwane:  

    "The Italy situation suits Paraguay perfectly well. The dynamic of this game may well change. Paraguay can relax but New Zealand need to go for the win."

  81. 15:29 Commentary Paraguay v New Zealand  

    Paraguay's Denis Caniza clearly fancies himself from long range, but this dipping 30-yarder doesn't come down quickly enough and flicks the top of the netting.

  82. 15:31 YELLOW CARD Slovakia v Italy  

    Fabio Cannavaro smiles as he walks away having picked up a booking - he knew it was coming, the veteran, after barging into Juraj Kucka. Italy are struggling badly.

  83. 15:32 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    However, it's not panic stations yet for the Azzurri. Our friends at Infostrada Sports tell us Italy are unbeaten in the last five World Cup matches in which they conceded the first goal. They came back from 1-0 down against Nigeria in 1994 (2-1), Mexico in 2002 (1-1), France in 2006 (1-1), Paraguay in 2010 (1-1) and New Zealand in 2010 (1-1).

  84. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Ellis Park  

    "Interesting. It all went a little quiet after Slovakia scored but they had definitely created the better openings. Sun setting here, but is it on Italy's World Cup?"

  85. 15:34 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    Maybe Fabio Cannavaro liked Zinedine Zidane's style, getting sent off in his last appearance for his country at the 2006 World Cup, because he's got a smiliar death wish today. Another reckless tackle concedes a free-kick and plenty of refs at the tournament would have shown him a second yellow there. Not Howard Webb, luckily for the Neapolitan.

  86. 15:37 Commentary Paraguay v New Zealand  

    There's nothing happening at Polokwane. Paraguay have more of the ball, but they are playing at a snail's pace. How long do New Zealand leave it before having a proper go?

  87. 606  

    From Moon: "SLOVENSKOOOOOOOOOO. The residents of Plave Vozokany will be dancing in the streets.... the TV commentators are loving this."

  88. 15:40 YELLOW CARD Slovakia v Italy  

    Fabio Cannavaro isn't laughing now - he's just been fouled by Robert Vittek and Vittek picks up a yellow as Cannavaro gets back to his feet, grimacing. A cross into the Slovakia box is then headed inches over his own crossbar by Martin Skrtel. Bit too close for comfort for the Liverpool defender.

  89. 15:43 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    Zdenko Strba writhes around on the floor at Ellis Park and no wonder - he is caught accidentally by Rino Gattuso's follow-through and he has a huge gash on his left knee, with blood pouring out of it. Nasty business.

  90. 15:44 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    Slovakia's Zdenko Strba gets his knee wrapped up and he wants to come back on, denying Kamil Kopunek his first World Cup appearance in the process. That's hard, that is.

  91. 15:45 INJURY TIME Slovakia v Italy  

    We're into three minutes of injury time at Ellis Park, which is exactly what it will feel like to Zdenko Strba, I'd have thought.

  92. 15:46 HALF-TIME Paraguay 0-0 New Zealand  

    Neither side has even had so much as a meaningful effort on goal in Polokwane. Utterly dismal.

  93. 15:48 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    My word it was almost 2-0. Robert Vittek holds the ball up and lays it off 25 yards out to Juraj Kucka and he hits a sizzling right-foot volley that flashes inches wide of Federico Marchetti's left-hand post.

  94. 15:48 HALF-TIME Slovakia 1-0 Italy  

    You know if they had gone in 2-0 to the good, Italy wouldn't have had much to complain about. The holders have been abysmal and right now they're heading out of the World Cup.

  95. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Pat Nevin in Polokwane:  

    "It's just a question of when NZ decide to let go of the reins and have a go at it. They need to get more crosses into the box. Paraguay are not offering a huge amount going forward."

  96. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Ellis Park  

    "I would say that Italy can have few real complaints with the scoreline. They haven't exactly kept it tight at the back and have shown us little going forward. A busy half-time for Zdenko Strba, I suspect."

  97. 15:54 Commentary  

    Fans of unprecedented things (and I include myself, certainly) might be interested in Infostrada's chat that never before have the two finalists from the previous tournament (Italy and France) been knocked out in the group stage at the following World Cup. This includes years in which the runner-up did not qualify.

  98. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat at Ellis Park:  

    "It's a sluggish Italian effort, they are lacking any creativity. Slovakia are on the front foot and Vittek deservedly put them in front. Italy have had efforts at goal but more in hope than certainty. The world champions have been very disappointing."

  99. 15:58 Commentary  

    You know I almost forgot to say it. Happy birthday Lionel Messi, 23 today. I wonder what his nearest and dearest got the kid who has it all?

  100. 16:03 SUBSTITUTION Slovakia 1-0 Italy  

    Double change at the break for the desperate Italians as Rino Gattuso and Domenico Criscito are taken off and Christian Magio and Fabio Quagliarella come on.

  101. 16:03 Commentary Paraguay 0-0 New Zealand  

    Back under way in Polokwane too between Paraguay and New Zealand. Ricki Herbert's men need to score otherwise they are heading home. How late do they leave the Charge of the (All-)White Brigade?

  102. 16:06 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    Vincenzo Iaquinta's foot is high and he accidentally boots Martin Skrtel in the head. Skrtel's OK, but after Fabio Cannavaro had gifted Slovakia possession, Italy have not made a good start to the second half.

  103. 16:06 Commentary Paraguay v New Zealand  

    Chance for New Zealand, their first one of the afternoon. Tony Lochhead's cross from the left is half-cleared to just outside the Paraguay half and Simon Elliott hits a right-foot drive that flies a couple of feet wide.

  104. 16:08 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    Better from Italy. Simone Pepe curls in a cross from the right and Vincenzo Iaquinta gets up well to glance a header wide of the far post.

  105. Twitter  

    From siddharth248: "Italy have never finished last in a World Cup group stage... I see that happening today, Italy to finish last. Bye bye Italy."

  106. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat at Ellis Park:  

    "Italy's approach play never got into the high, wide positions in the first half. They need someone to make a clever pass, to slide a player through."

  107. 16:13 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    Andrea Pirlo is about to come on for Italy. A nation's hopes...

  108. 16:14 SUBSTITUTION Slovakia v Italy  

    Great chance for Antonio Di Natale on the right of the area for Italy, but he cannot hook his leg around the shot and it whistles plenty wide. Meanwhile, 2006 great Andrea Pirlo comes on for Riccardo Montolivo.

  109. 16:15 Commentary Paraguay v New Zealand  

    Woeful. Oscar Cardozo smacks a 30-yard left-foot free-kick high and not very handsome in Polokwane, in keeping with one of the most dismal matches of this World Cup so far.

  110. 16:16 YELLOW CARD Paraguay v New Zealand  

    New Zealand's monumental captain Ryan Nelsen is booked and if they make it through to the last 16, he would not feature.

  111. 606  

    From eirebilly: "This Italian performance has been dire. It looks more likely that Slovakia will get a second goal than an Italian equaliser."

  112. 16:20 Commentary Paraguay v New Zealand  

    Closest Paraguay have come as Denis Caniza curls over a cross and Cristian Riveros heads goalwards, forcing a fine save from Mark Paston. Some pinball ensues, but the All-Whites survive.

  113. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Ellis Park  

    "The fact that Marcello Lippi has played all his cards so early tells you everything you need to know about the desperation of Italy's situation."

  114. 16:22 Commentary  

    In amongst today's drama, Infostrada have unearthed the kind of fact that makes you just want to stand back and applaud. Apparently, in the World Cup's 80-year history, the most penalties have been awarded on 24 June (13 in total). 11 June follows with 12 awarded penalties.

  115. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Pat Nevin in Polokwane:  

    "I think Paraguay can sense that the New Zealand players are running out of steam. There is a real tiredness in their team now. Roque Santa Cruz has done nothing. I'm amazed he's still on the field."

  116. 16:25 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    Damn it, where's that 'booted off the line' graphic when you need it? Drama at Ellis Park as Simone Pepe crosses from the right and after Jam Mucha can only flap, Fabio Quagliarella's right-foot volley is hacked off his own line by Martin Skrtel. It was so, so close to being in. Brilliant defending.

  117. Commentary GROUP F AS IT STANDS:  

    Paraguay will top Group F with five points and will be joined in the last 16 by runners-up Slovakia on four points. New Zealand will miss out but will finish unbeaten with three draws - and defending champions and four-time World Cup winners Italy will be out, bottom of the group on two points.

  118. 16:27 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    The more men Italy throw forward, the most vulnerable they leave themselves. Slovakia break and Miroslav Stoch cuts in from the inside left channel, only to fire wastefully wide from the edge of the box. At 2-0, Italy would have been gone.

  119. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat at Ellis Park:  

    "I think the officials made a brilliant decision and we shall have to wait and see. No doubt the Italian journalists will say it was over the line but we all get a bit patriotic at these times."

  120. 16:30 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    Remember - Italy only need to score once and if it stays 0-0 in the other game, they will go through to the last 16. Less than 20 minutes left for them to find what would be a very golden goal.

  121. 16:31 GOAL Slovakia 2-0 Italy  

    They're gone. A corner from the right isn't cleared and after Marek Hamsik puts it back into the mixer, Robert Vittek shows good awareness to get across Giorgio Chiellini and stab in at the near post. The holders are exiting the World Cup at the group stage. Astonishing.

  122. 16:33 Commentary Paraguay v New Zealand  

    Mark Paston makes another good save, low down to his left, to keep out Edgar Benitez's low drive from just inside the New Zealand area.

  123. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat at Ellis Park:  

    "It has not been a smash and grab by Slovakia - it has been a controlled display. The Slovakians are smiling and the Italians are all over the place. Vittek has taken his goals brilliantly - he was too quick for Chillieni."

  124. SMS  

    Adam, Norwich: "What is it with Howard Webb officiating upsets in this tournament? First Spain's defeat and now this. Get him signed up for Argentina v Mexico!"

  125. 16:38 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    I did mean holders and not hosts, of course I did. Meanwhile, it's worth emphasising how much of a shock this is. Infostrada tell us that Italy’s last World Cup defeat by a two-goal margin was a 2-0 loss against France in 1986.

  126. 16:38 GOAL Slovakia 2-1 Italy  

    They've got about 10 minutes to save their World Cup dream. Fabio Quagliarella shows quick feet to jink into the Slovakia area and after a one-two with Vincenzo Iaquinta his shot is brilliantly saved by Jan Mucha, only for Antonio Di Natale to poke in the rebound. They are one goal away from staying in the tournament.

  127. 16:41 YELLOW CARD Slovakia v Italy  

    Howard Webb brandishes his yellow card a couple of times after an unsightly incident in the Slovakia net after Fabio Quagliarella tried to get the ball back. It looks a bit like Juraj Kucka might have struck Quagliarella, but only Jan Mucha and the Italian are booked.

  128. 16:42 OFFSIDE Slovakia v Italy  

    Unbelievable. This is drama of a remarkable kind. A cross comes in from the left and Fabio Quagliarella sticks it in the onion bag - only for the assistant to raise his flag and break the hearts of a nation. For now...

  129. 16:44 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    Italy are bombing forward at every opportunity. If only they could have played like this in the previous 260 minutes in South Africa. Remember this: Italy got through the group stages in 1982 with three draws - and went on to win it.

  130. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat at Ellis Park:  

    "There was playacting by Mucha and further playacting by the Italian sub Quagliarella. Howard Webb got in and did his best to sort it out. The bottom line is can Italy restore some pride?"

  131. 16:45 Commentary Paraguay v New Zealand  

    It's still goalless in Polokwane, incidentally. Well, I mean it's not incidental, but you know what I mean.

  132. 16:46 GOAL Slovakia 3-1 Italy  

    Now the holders are out. Slovakia take a quick, sharp throw from the right and Italy just are not quick enough to react. Sub Kamil Kopunek latches on to the ball and with Federico Marchetti slow to leave his line, the Slovakian coolly lifts it over him and into the net. My giddy aunt.

  133. 16:48 INJURY TIME Slovakia v Italy  

    Into four minutes of injury time, but it won't be enough for the holders Italy.

  134. 16:48 INJURY TIME Paraguay v New Zealand  

    Three minutes of injury time in Polokwane.

  135. 16:49 GOAL Slovakia 3-2 Italy  

    That's a magnificent goal, will you lot stop writing them off so hastily? The ball breaks to Fabio Quagliarella on the edge of the Slovakia box and he gets his pitching wedge out, sending a glorious chip over Jan Mucha and into the net. Stunning. But is there time...

  136. 16:51 FULL-TIME Paraguay 0-0 New Zealand  

    Paraguay are through to the last 16. Now, who's gonna join them...

  137. 16:52 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    There's been an injury, a sub... there's a little bit of time left, you know...

  138. 16:53 Commentary Slovakia v Italy  

    They had the chance, too. They had the chance to make it 3-3 and qualify. Gigi Buffon is off the bench with his hands on his head after a long throw is flicked on and, at the back post, Simone Pepe gets his volley all wrong from six yards and screws the ball wide. Agony. Just agony. And that's just me. And I'm not Italian. Agony.

  139. 16:54 FULL-TIME Slovakia 3-2 Italy  

    Marcello Lippi heads off down the tunnel and some Italians are in tears on the pitch. The World Cup holders, Italy, have gone. The Slovakians are jubilant.

  140. 16:54 Commentary  


  141. 16:57 Commentary GROUP F AS IT FINISHED:  

    Paraguay top Group F on five points and they go through with Slovakia in second on four points. I can't believe I'm writing this, but New Zealand are third on three points and Italy bottom with a paltry two. Why am I shaking?

  142. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Pat Nevin in Polokwane:  

    "Paraguay have done well but I don't think they work as a unit up front. To get much further in the competition you need 13, 14, 15 guys who work their socks off the entire game. But they can celebrate tonight because they are through."

  143. Twitter  

    From OptaJoe: "This is the first time that Italy have conceded three goals in a World Cup game since 1970 when they lost 1-4 to Brazil."

  144. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat at Ellis Park:  

    "Quite incredible - Lippi drifted off down the tunnel and didn’t shake hands with Vladimir Weiss, Slovakia's manager. It was a deserved victory in terms of overall play. Not only were they brave, but they were better and they imposed their will on the Italians. This was a remarkable afternoon. It was a wonderful win over the world champions. Maybe the Italians will want an English manager now."

  145. SMS  

    Declan from Belfast: "Wow... Just wow."

  146. 17:10 Commentary  

    Here's more chat for you, World Cup chat lovers: Group F winners Paraguay will play the second-placed team in Group E on Tuesday at 1500 BST in Pretoria, while Slovakia's dream run will continue on Monday at 1500 BST with a game against the winners of Group E (probably Netherlands) in Durban.

  147. Commentary Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino:  

    "We played very badly in the first half and we played better in the second half. I'm pleased with the qualification but not with the way we played. We had a lot of problems in an area where we didn't expect, and that was in attack."

  148. 606  

    From SleepingSpurs: "Lippi has been useless in this tournament, useless. He plays Iaquinta and Di Natale, who have been two of the worst Italian strikers I've ever seen in my life, and leaves Pazzini and Quagliarella on the bench and Cassano out completely."

  149. Twitter  

    From legerrid: "Both champions and runners-up finishing bottom of their group... surely the first time ever. Insane."

  150. Contributor Italian journalist Gabriele Marcotti:  

    "Expectations were low, about as low as they can be for defending world champions. The first 45 mins today were just so abject I think everyone will agree it's time to tear up the script and start over. It wasn’t a discipline problem, it was an ability problem and a performance problem."

  151. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat at Ellis Park:  

    "Lippi had to gamble towards the end but they were really, really poor and some of their forward play was insipid beyond belief. They were well-beaten. There can be no excuses whatsoever for Italy. They had top players on the field earning a lot of money and they were woeful."

  152. SMS  

    Ian, Moscow, Russia: "The World Cup is really alive now!"

  153. 17:30 Commentary  

    Ian my son, you are not wrong. My hands are sweating, my heart is racing and I feel like I'm nine years old watching Italia '90 all over again. Sam Lyon will be your genial host tonight for the climax to Group E, so join him in a little while. Final thought from me: apparently, Marcello Lippi didn't stick around to shake his opposite number's hand at the end. Why are these people so unbearably ungracious? Kids, always lose as you would win. Have a great evening.

By Paul Fletcher, Ellis Park

Reigning champions Italy were sensationally knocked out of the World Cup by a Slovakia side that clinched a place in the last 16 with victory in a match of incredible drama and tension.

In arguably the best game of the tournament so far, Robert Vittek scored a goal in each half to seemingly end the Azzurri's hopes of defending the trophy they won in Germany four years ago.

But Antonio Di Natale pulled it back to 2-1 with nine minutes remaining, leaving the Italians needing to score again to claim the point that would have seen them scrape through from Group F.

And they thought it had come through substitute Fabio Quagliarella, only for the offside flag to agonisingly deny them.

Italy's hopes of advancing were then seemingly extinguished once and for all when Slovakia substitute Kamil Kopunek exploited defensive hesitation, running onto a throw-in before lifting the ball brilliantly beyond advancing goalkeeper Federico Marchetti with one minute of normal time remaining.

Even then, there was time for Quagliarella to score with a superb injury-time strike and Simone Pepe to scuff a far-post volley as Italy staged a last-ditch attempt to remain in the finals in South Africa.

The win sees Slovakia claim second place behind group winners Paraguay - and ensures the campaign is already a resounding success for coach Vladimir Weiss and his team.

But the 2010 World Cup will be remembered as a disaster for opposite number Marcelo Lippi as his team finish bottom of their group having failed to qualify from the opening stage of the competition for the first time since 1974. Lippi, who guided them to glory in 2006, sees his second spell as coach end in dramatic defeat.

Italy drew with Paraguay and New Zealand before losing to Slovakia, who are ranked 34th in the world, and could have no complaints about the result at Ellis Park after their opponents approached the game with more craft and invention.

The Azzurri conceded just twice in their triumphant campaign four years ago but their central defensive pairing of veteran Fabio Cannavaro and Giorgio Chiellini were opened up numerous times.

Napoli's Marek Hamsik should really have scored for Slovakia after six minutes when he found himself completely unmarked 16 yards from goal, only to mis-cue his volley.

However, there was much to admire in the precision of Slovakia's opening goal after Daniele De Rossi's awful pass gifted possession to Juraj Kucka.

Sparta Prague forward Kucka quickly assessed the situation before playing a superb disguised pass to Vittek, whose accurate low strike from the edge of the area eluded Marchetti.

Italy striker Vincenzo Iaquinta fired wide from a tight angle in reply, while Riccardo Montolivo thrashed a shot over the crossbar in the final attack of a very frustrating opening half for his side.

It could have been an even worse first 45 minutes for the Azzurri as skipper Cannavaro, playing what turned out to be his final game for his country, was perhaps fortunate to escape a booking for a lunge on Hamsik minutes after he had received a caution.

Italy coach Marcello Lippi had seen enough and brought on Christian Maggio and Quagliarella for Domenicio Criscito and Gennaro Gattuso at the break.

And after only 10 minutes of the second half, he played his final card by introducing AC Milan playmaker Andrea Pirlo, so important in 2006, but unable to play any part in their first two matches because of a calf injury.

Italy were effectively playing with a front four, although Pepe and Quagliarella dropped back from their wide positions when Slovakia were in possession.

The tactical switch undoubtedly opened up the game and shortly after Martin Skrtel's sensational, if slightly fortunate, goal-line clearance after a firm strike from Quagliarella, Slovakia doubled their lead.

Chiellini headed a corner clear but as he looked around to adjust his position the alert Vittek made a near-post run that allowed him to steal a march on the Italian and convert Hamsik's low cross.

The contest was by now an end-to-end encounter, and it became heated with some ugly scenes following Di Natale's close-range goal.

Slovakia keeper Jan Mucha tussled with Quagliarella as they both tried to retrieve the ball from the back of the net and after Kucka came to his team-mate's defence, both the Italian and Mucha ended up on the floor.

The goal gave Italy renewed hope but they could not pull themselves level in a thrilling finish which ended with the final whistle which prompted mass celebrations among the Slovakia players.

Slovakia Slovakia Flag 3-2 Italy Flag Italy FT

(HT 1-0)

Vittek, 25, 73
Kopunek, 89
Di Natale, 81
Quagliarella, 90+2






  • Venue: Ellis Park
  • Referee: Howard Webb
  • Attendance: 53,412
Slovakia     Italy
  • Possession 57%
  • Attempts on target 7
  • Attempts off target 6
  • Corners 6
  • Fouls 19

Projected table based on current scores

Group A

Group A teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Uruguay 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 7
Mexico 3 1 1 1 3 2 1 4
South Africa 3 1 1 1 3 5 -2 4
France 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1

Group B

Group B teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Argentina 3 3 0 0 7 1 6 9
South Korea 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4
Greece 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
Nigeria 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1

Group C

Group C teams P W D L F A GD PTS
USA 3 1 2 0 4 3 1 5
England 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 5
Slovenia 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
Algeria 3 0 1 2 0 2 -2 1

Group D

Group D teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Germany 3 2 0 1 5 1 4 6
Ghana 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
Australia 3 1 1 1 3 6 -3 4
Serbia 3 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3

Group E

Group E teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Netherlands 3 3 0 0 5 1 4 9
Japan 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Denmark 3 1 0 2 3 6 -3 3
Cameroon 3 0 0 3 2 5 -3 0

Group F

Group F teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Paraguay 3 1 2 0 3 1 2 5
Slovakia 3 1 1 1 4 5 -1 4
New Zealand 3 0 3 0 2 2 0 3
Italy 3 0 2 1 4 5 -1 2

Group G

Group G teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Brazil 3 2 1 0 5 2 3 7
Portugal 3 1 2 0 7 0 7 5
Ivory Coast 3 1 1 1 4 3 1 4
North Korea 3 0 0 3 1 12 -11 0

Group H

Group H teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Spain 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Chile 3 2 0 1 3 2 1 6
Switzerland 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 4
Honduras 3 0 1 2 0 3 -3 1

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