WC 2010 Day 14 : Video Highlights

Italy 2 Slovakia 3
World champions Italy are out of World Cup 2010. Takes some believing. But they are. After draws with Paraguay and New Zealand, Marcello Lippi’s team lost 3-2 to Slovakia, a result that sees the Azzurri finish bottom of Group F. Behind New Zealand! It will take a while for Azzurri fans to fully process it. The happier story is that Slovakia – playing in their first World Cup as an independent nation after years of watching the Czech Republic hog all the post-Czechoslovakia glory, are through to the last 16 of World Cup 2010. Two goals from Robert Vittek put Slovakia 2-0 ahead. Antonio Di Natale pulled one back for Italy, but Kamil Kapunik came off the bench to re-establish that two goal lead. Fabio Quagliarella got a late consolation, but it wasn’t enough for Italy to prevent Slovakia progressing with four points and second place in Group F.

Paraguay 0 New Zealand 0
Paraguay just needed a draw to go through. New Zealand needed a win, but knew they probably didn’t have the firepower to make it happen. It was a dull game if you are a neutral. If you’re a Kiwi, then your team just went three matches unbeaten at World Cup 2010, and finished third in Group F, one place ahead of world champions Italy. If you’re a Paraguayan, your team just won Group F, and goes through to play Group E runners up Japan in the Round of 16.

Denmark 1 Japan 3
Takeshi Okada promised Japan would not sit on the draw, and they delivered as advertised. With their three goals they’ve earned a date with Paraguay in the second stage and the stigma of a team which has finally figured out the Jabulani on free kicks – they’re the Jabulani Masters. A game which promised to be close and hard-fought was anything but when two free kicks within the first half hour stunned Denmark into disbelief – possibly because both were so extraordinarily brilliant. The game was seemingly good and over from there, with the late trading of goals only for scoreline purposes.

Cameroon 1 Netherlands 2
Most of the neutral world was watching Denmark – Japan with this game merely about the Oranje playing for first and the Indomitable Lions playing for the pride. The biggest thing to take from the game is easily this: there’s been a lot of “wait til we/they get Robben back” floating around, and were they ever right. Slovakia is in for a nightmare whether he plays from the start or not, but if the Dutch back can hold watertight, the Oranje are now firmly entrenched into the contenders category. Arjen Robben is simply that much of a difference-maker on the world football landscape.

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