Italy out of World Cup


Robert Vittek scored twice for Slovakia as his side stunned the World Champions 3-2 at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg.

The 28-year-old who had managed Slovakia’s sole goal in the cup so far, scored goals in the 25th and 74th minutes for a side who had only managed four shots on target in their previous two games. Slovakia were the better side throughout and thoroughly deserved their win. However any thoughts that the game was dead at 2-0 proved exhilaratingly false.

Antonio Di Natale pulled one back late to give Italy some hope nine minutes from time. The Udinese player thought he had scored a dramatic equaliser in the 85th minute but was ruled marginally though correctly offside.

However, the Azzurri fate was sealed when substitute Kamil Kopunek added a third in the 89th with his first touch of the match, after reacting first to a right hand throw in. Fabio Quagliarella smashed in another goal from 30 yards in stoppage time to add extra drama.

Pepe had a dramatic late chance for an equaliser but mishit the shot wide.

It is Italy’s first exit at this stage since 1974 when they finished third behind Poland and Argentina.

With France’s early exit, both 2006 finalists are now out of the competition. The match will signify a farewell to the generation of players, led by Fabio Cannavaro, who won the World Cup in 2006.

Speculation will immediately begin as to who will manage the soon to be former World Champions after the inevitable axe falls of Marcello Lippi.


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