Defending Champions Italy followed the footsteps of runners-up France to bow out of  World Cup’10. Slovakia, in their maiden tournament, battled against all odds to come out triumphant and secured a berth in the knockout stages.

June 24, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Slovakia v Italy FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 - Group F - Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - 24/6/10..Slovakia starting XI before the match.
Impressive Slovak Army: the find of the tournament
Slovakia continued with their preferred 4-4-2 formation and started the match brightly, posing questions for the Italian fort as early as in the 6th minute, while Italy looked rather nervy to begin with. Robert Vittek set the tone of the match and released a back-heal pass for Marek Hamsik, which the Slovak captain fired wide of Federico Machetti’s goal from just 12 yards out. Six minutes later, Machetti responded brilliantly to deny Vittek another opportunity to put Slovakia ahead.

Marcelo Lippi made two changes to the squad that featured against Paraguay as Gennaro “Rhino” Guttoso and Di Natale replaced Claudio Marchisio and Alberto Gilardino in the starting line-up. Lippi’s decision to leave out a fit again Andrea Pirlo on the bench hurt them badly, as creativity in the middle was conspicuous by its absence.

Slovakia took a deserved lead through Vittek in the 25th minute after Eric Jendrisek brilliantly intercepted a De Rossi pass. He perfectly laid the ball for Robert Vittek and all that Italian custodian Machetti had to do was to collect the ball from the back of the net. Slovakia continued to attack with purpose to double their lead, but were unable to break the Italian defense for the remaining of first half.

Italy dominated the proceedings in the second half and the introduction of Pirlo, ten minutes after the break, brought life to the Italian attack. Italy looked a completely different side altogether with Pirlo pulling the strings from midfield, but against the run of play, Vittek doubled the Slovak lead with just twenty minutes remaining, beating Machetti at the near post.

June 24, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Slovakia v Italy FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 - Group F - Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - 24/6/10..Slovakia's Martin Skrtel (L) and Jan Durica celebrate at the end of the match after reaching the second round.Victory Lap: A jubilant Slovakia team after eliminating
the World Champions
Just when Italy looked completely down and out of the encounter, Antinio Di Natale gave the Champions a ray of hope when he calmly slotted home a rebound off the Slovakian custodian, ten minutes from time. The goal rekindled the Italian hope as they attacked with venom and almost grabbed the equalizer immediately; although Quagliarella’s shot crossed the goal-line, the linesman had his flag raised for a tight offside call.

Slovakia took the game well out of Italy’s reach in the 89th minute, scoring their third goal of the day. Sloppy defending from the champions saw Kamil Kopunek rushing in to beat De Rossi and Cannavaro and chipping the ball over the advancing Machetti’s head to confirm Italy’s embarrassment. An injury time goal from Quagliarella made the final score-line look a little respectable for the defending Champions, but it was not enough to prevent the Azzurries from crashing out from the group stage for the first time in 36 years.  

TheHardTakle’s Player Of The Match:
Robert Vittek (Slovakia)
The striker showed superb finishing skills to nail two goals past Marchetti, helping his team to book a berth in the knockout stages. He was involved with almost all the attacking moves created by Slovakia and showed willingness to track back to help out the defensive half whenever needed. Undoubtedly, Robert Vittek was the star performer of the day.

TheHardTackle’s Referee Report Card
Howard Webb (England): B+
The English official had a very good game. He controlled the high flying emotions with empathy, curbed the unnecessary play acting very strictly and dealt with the rash fouls by dishing out yellow cards. He could have dished out more than just a yellow to Slovak goalkeeper Mucha for punching Quagliarella in the face, after Italy’s second goal.


Venue: Johannesburg, Ellis Park Stadium
Attendance: 53412


Slovakia Line-up: Mucha, Pekarik, Skrtel, Durica, Zabavnik, Strba (Kopunek 87’), Hamsik, Kucka, Stoch, Jendrisek (Petras 94’), Vittek (Sestek 92’)
Coution: Strba (16’), Vittek (40’), Pekarik (50’), Mucha (82’)
Sent off: None
Goal: Vittek (25’, 73’), Kopunek (89’)


Italy line-up: Marchetti, Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Criscito (Quagliarella 46’), Gattuso (Maggio 46’), De Rossi, Montolivo (Pirlo 56’), Pepe, Iaquinta, Di Natale
Coution: Cannavaro (31’), Chiellini (67’), Pepe (76’)
Sent off:
Goal: Di Natale “(81’), Quagliarella (92’)

66 Responses to “Slovakia 3-2 Italy: Slovakia Creates History as The Italians Are Eliminated”

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  1. Amazing! Italy lost. Sobbing in streets of Naples.

  2. Azzurri says:

    TheHardTackle’s Referee Report Card
    Howard Webb (England): B+
    The English official had a very good game.

    Did you watch the game yourself at all????

    Skertel’s clearance of Quagliarella’s shot was from inside the goal and hence it was a clear goal!!!
    Then poor Quagliarella’s goal was disallowed for an offside which clearly was not an offside!
    Red card for that Slovakian F*** Mucha.
    Us Azzurri’s were robbed by that retard Englishman!

    Slovakia played well and probably deserved a win too but to say that HOWARD WEBB of all ppl had a good game goes beyond my head!

  3. Somnath says:

    You cant say Skrtel’s clearance was from the inside or not. Even replays are not 100% clear, plus the ball bounced off him outside the goal line so thats what a referee & linesman count. Quagliarela was clearly offside when the move was started, he moved back in but not in time.

    Even Cannavaro deserved a second yellow. I have been an Azzuri supporter since 1994, this is the worst Italy team ever & they deserved the bottom place in the group completely.

  4. Luis says:

    It is a rule of thumb in football that the ball needs to completely cross the line, eitherer in air or ground…. And even if any part of the ball is on the goal-line, it’s not a goal. Skrtel’s stop was unconclusive even from the replays and I’m sure some of us still have doubt in mind whether it was really a goal or not. iJust imagine watching it live on the ground. You can’t just blame the referee, it’s almost impossible to tell exactly. I felt Howard Webb had a pretty decent game. Sympathy for the Azzurri fans, but accept it mate, you deserved to be kicked out.

  5. redNblack_blood says:

    we played like champions only for the last 20 mins… but it hurts nonetheless :'(

  6. Last 10 mins in the entire tournament only!

  7. redNblack_blood says:

    what is it with lippi and juve??? Chiellini my lord.. i have no words for him and Lippi’s beloved striker Iaquinta a.k.a scumbag….. fabio has been a gr8 player in his own rights but the way he was playing in this tournament esp yesterday in a do or die match was surely disappointing. We had no midfiled till Pirlo came in literally……….. major reshuffling needed..
    Gigi for captain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Somnath says:

    Whats wrong with Chiellini ? Sure he missed one challenge for the second goal. But otherwise he was pretty good yesterday, check the last minute tackle to deny Hamsik before 2nd goal. Canna was to be blamed not Chiellini. And who else would slot in as centre-back ? Bonucci ? You cant have a team without Chiellini. Chiellini – Bonucci is the combo that hould work. With Gamberini & Rannochia/Bochetti as subs.

    Canna’s mistake led to both goals in last 2 games. De Rossi’s mistake in Slovakia’s first goal. Zambrotta was ball watching for Slovakia’s 3rd yesterday.

  9. redNblack_blood says:

    @ somnath– I was really in favour of Chiellini whn the finals began but he just didn’t live up the expectations in the most crucial match.. in fact the entire backline for that matter…. n it seemed Zambrotta was missing from the entire match (i actually didn’t see him )…. i have said that in the past as well that cannavaro’s slip ups cost us the previous 2 matches thr is no denying that… and De rossi’s passing through out the match was “bakWas”, obviously he was the one responsible for the the 1st goal plus he was sitting to deep in the Italian half which i didn’t understand… but Iaquinta y in the world was he even thr at the top.. i guess lippi will be have to ans this question a no. of times in the days to come…. dnt make this a juve milan battle that is not the intent here.. what i m questioning is lippi’s fascination with juve players.. m sorry but yesterday slovaks forwards outran both cannavaro and chiellini quite a few times and u cant deny that man. we needed goals as simple as that, agreed we were lame in the center before the introduction of pirlo but Iaquinta failed miserably whenever opportunities came to him…..

  10. Somnath says:

    Slovakia played well :)

    Why can we accept that. Cant a team play better than Italy ?

    Lippi’s fascination is not with Juve. His fascination is actually with the players from 2006. And naturally a few of the Juve players got in because of that. Iaquinta didn’t deserve it. Neither did Camoranesi or Gattuso. Lippi almost called up Grosso. But he was too poor to be picked even for Lippi. Gilardino is another player who fascinates Lippi.

    Lippis fascination is mainly with 2006 players, not Juve players. The only Juve players he picked, who were not there in 2006 were Chiellini & Marchisio. Both performed well last season.

  11. Arvind says:

    I think followers of Serie-A saw black and white stripes in the Azzurri jersey. Lippi’s fascination was towards Juventus and Juventino players past present and future. The way he snubbed Miccoli was scandalous, and I am not going to talk of Cassano.

    Leaving the 2006 winners aside, Why in this world did Iaquinta start three games is simply unanswerable (He wasn’t really the key player in 06). And what in the world did possess him to continue with Pepe and Marchiso is another big mystery. It is hard not to see a hardcore bianconero at work here. In normal seasons it would have rubbed in positively with Azzurri, but after the season the Old Lady had… it was akin to committing suicide, which in a way the Italian side did.

  12. Luis says:

    The road ahead will not be smooth for Prandelli.