View Full Version : FIFA WC Soccer 2010 , GROUP F: all previews, reviews and match thread

May 31, 2010, 12:17 AM


<center> <table border="1" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse" bordercolor="#111111" width="75%" id="AutoNumber1" height="99"> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="19">&nbsp;</td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" align="center" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">Team</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">P</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">W</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">D</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">L</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">F</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">A</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">GD</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">PTS</font></b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#66FF99"><b> <font face="Arial">1</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#66FF99" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">Paraguay</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>2</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>2</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>5</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#66FF99"><b> <font face="Arial">2</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#66FF99" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">Slovakia</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>4</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>5</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>-1</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>4</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#FF6666"><b> <font face="Arial">3</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#FF6666" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">New Zealand</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>2</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>2</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>3</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#FF6666"><b> <font face="Arial">4</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#FF6666" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">Italy</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>2</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>4</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>5</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>-1</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>2</b></td> </tr> </table> </center>


Monday, June 14
18:30 - Italy 1 : 1 Paraguay, Green Point Stadium, Cape Town

Tuesday, June 15
11:30 - New Zealand 1 :1 Slovakia, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Sunday, June 20
11:30 - Slovakia 0 : 3 Paraguay, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
14:00 - Italy 1 : 1 New Zealand, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Thursday, June 24
14:00 - Paraguay 0 : 0 New Zealand, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
14:00 - Slovakia 3 : 2 Italy, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg

* All times are GMT


http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/ita.gif ITALY: Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon, Morgan De Sanctis, Federico Marchetti
Defenders: Gianluca Zambrotta, Fabio Cannavaro, Giorgio Chiellini, Christian Maggio, Leonardo Bonucci, Domenico Criscito, Salvatore Bocchetti
Midfielders: Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso, Daniele De Rossi, Riccardo Montolivo, Mauro Camoranesi, Angelo Palombo, Claudio Marchisio, Simone Pepe
Forwards: Fabio Quagliarella, Vincenzo Iaquinta, Antonio Di Natale, Alberto Gilardino, Giampaolo Pazzini
Coach: Marcelo Lippi

http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/par.gif PARAGUAY: Goalkeepers: Justo Villa, Aldo Bobadilla, Diego Barreto
Defenders: Julio Cesar Caceres, Denis Caniza, Dario Veron, Paulo Da Silva, Claudio Morel, Carlos Bonet, Aureliano Torres, Antolin Alcaraz
Midfielders: Cristian Riveros, Jonathan Santana, Enrique Vera, Victor Caceres, Nestor Ortigoza, Edgar Barreto
Forwards: Roque Santa Cruz, Oscar Cardozo, Nelson Haedo Valdez, Rodolfo Gamarra, Lucas Barrios, Edgar Benitez
Coach: Gerardo Martino

http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/nzl.gif NEW ZEALAND: Goalkeepers: Mark Paston, Glen Moss, James Bannatyne
Defenders: Ryan Nelsen, Ivan Vicelich, Ben Sigmund, Winston Reid, Tommy Smith, Tony Lochhead, Andy Boyens
Midfielders: Simon Elliott, Tim Brown, Leo Bertos, Michael McGlinchey, Aaron Clapham, David Mulligan, Jeremy Brockie, Andy Barron, Jeremy Christie
Forwards: Chris Killen, Shane Smeltz, Chris Wood, Rory Fallon
Coach: Ricki Herbert

http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/svk.gif SLOVAKIA: Goalkeepers: Jan Mucha, Dusan Kuciak, Dusan Pernis
Defenders: Marek Cech, Jan Durica, Peter Pekarik, Martin Petras, Kornel Salata, Martin Skrtel, Radoslav Zabavnik
Midfielders: Marek Hamsik, Kamil Kopunek, Jan Kozak, Juraj Kucka, Marek Sapara, Zdeno Strba, Miroslav Stoch, Vladimir Weiss
Forwards: Filip Holosko, Martin Jakubko, Erik Jendrisek, Stanislav Sestak, Robert Vittek
Coach: Vladimir Weiss

May 31, 2010, 11:59 AM
Thanks Offy for making this thread.
Yes! We will start our journey on 14th VS Paraguay!!
Bring it on! :)

One World bhai- fellow Italian supporter- where do you hiding out? really missing you. only 10 days to go!

May 31, 2010, 04:42 PM
Italy must have the most easiest group of all. Pasha bhai beshi asha koiren nah. aiebar mafia party r khobor ase.

May 31, 2010, 11:03 PM
Italy and Paraguay. It would be sad if Slovakia make it through. I am hoping for Paraguay though :)

And Italy, highest Semi's...

June 1, 2010, 02:00 AM
Italy: one of those teams i hate now that i used to love once. Dont know why!!
I think they winning the last world cup pissed me off, even though i was mighty happy that France didnt win it.

Paraguay would probably the second team from the group.

Go the Kiwis. Enjoy the experience.

June 1, 2010, 02:43 AM
Italy must have the most easiest group of all. Pasha bhai beshi asha koiren nah. aiebar mafia party r khobor ase.

group ta easy porse .... could be worse!

mafia party cup jite eibar Bra party er shoman hobe ...lol :)

June 1, 2010, 04:32 AM
^^ Eh, in your dreams Pasha bhai.

June 1, 2010, 06:14 AM
italy may turn out to be too strong
NZ may turn out to be too weak
paraguay and slovakia will fight for the the 2nd spot

June 1, 2010, 06:24 AM
italy may turn out to be too strong
NZ may turn out to be too weak
paraguay and slovakia will fight for the the 2nd spot

June 1, 2010, 10:27 AM
My money is on Paraguay. Slovakia will not make it.

June 10, 2010, 10:00 AM
no body put money on slovakia and slovenia in the qualifying group that had Czechs and Poland.

but both Slovaks and Slovenians played very well to come over the czecks and poland.

its a interesting thing that both Czechs and Slovaks (thats the former Czechoslovakia) were in the same group

June 10, 2010, 10:12 AM
The problem with the smaller teams is consistency. Senegal reached the semi finals a couple of tournaments back, but have been out of the picture since. Bulgaria made it to the semis in 1994 and went downhill after that. Greece won the Euro, but haven't done much to note since. Turkey hasn't been able to keep up the same intensity that they showed 8 years ago.

Only a handful teams are consistent in what they do. Brazil, Argentina, Italy and to a lesser extent France, England and Spain (although these three have choking tendencies).

June 13, 2010, 11:45 PM
Champions kick-off defence against Paraguay (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264061&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

The 2006 World Cup winners open their title defence against the team predicted to cause them the most problems in Group F. Italy have Marcello Lippi back at the helm and, after an unbeaten qualification campaign, the Azzurri should certainly be considered among the contenders in South Africa, though the phrase "successive wins" is not one that has been uttered too often in relation to their chances. Inter Milan's Champions League success may have boosted Italy's UEFA co-efficient but with substitute Marco Materazzi - who was not even selected in Lippi's final 23 - the only Italian player involved in the final, little can be really taken from the Italian side's continental success.

Materazzi is one of several players who played in the 2006 final to have been cut by Lippi this time around, while Andrea Pirlo, Italy's best player in the 2006 final, will miss the start of the tournament with a calf injury, meaning the Azzurri will be increasingly reliant on Daniele De Rossi to pull the strings from midfield. Italy always seem to be a side boasting experience and, with an average squad age of 28.75, they are the fifth oldest in South Africa.

Paraguay will be aiming to emulate the success of the likes of Cameroon and Senegal in producing a shock win over the reigning champions in their opening game. Gerardo Martino's side enjoyed an impressive qualification campaign, beating fellow South American qualifiers Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay along the way - and they have also looked good in the build-up to the World Cup, with a 2-1 loss against Republic of Irleland the only blot on their copybook among wins against North Korea and Greece and a draw with Ivory Coast.

Top scorer in qualifying, Salvador Cabanas, was shockingly shot in the head earlier this year and Paraguay's players were hit hard, though the incident has certainly served to improve the togetherness of the side, and will be a source of inspiration for La Albirroja heading into the finals. Having exited at the group stage in 2006 Paraguay advanced to the second round, and will need the likes of Roque Santa Cruz and industrious right midfielder Carlos Bonet to be on top form against Italy if they are to get off to a good start and replicate previous progressions.

Italy player in focus: Daniele De Rossi: Dynamism personified, De Rossi will be the Azzurri's key man in Pirlo's absence, and with Gennaro Gattuso an option to play behind him, the Roma midfielder should have plenty of room to roam and influence the game. He comes into the tournament on the back of a fantastic season with his club side, and it seems the bigger the occasion, the better he plays. Four years on from his disgraceful sending off against USA at the 2006 finals, De Rossi has matured into a real leader and he will be determined to show the numerous positive aspects of his game this time around. There is a doubt over his fitness for Monday but, given his importance, he seems likely to make the starting XI.

Paraguay player in focus: Lucas Barrios. One of the in-form players heading into the finals, Barrios has the potential to make a big impact in South Africa and, wherever he goes, goals are almost certain to follow. Born in Argentina, he decided to represent Paraguay just before the World Cup and promptly accepted a call-up to the side. Three goals in his first three games have seen him explode onto the international scene. A predator with exceptional finishing prowess, Italy should be wary of his presence.

Key battle: Paulo Da Silva v Fabio Quagliarella: Da Silva helped keep out the intimidating attacking talents of Brazil and Argentina during qualifying, but after a frustrating season at Sunderland in which he started just 12 games, his lack of game time could prove costly at the World Cup. Waiting to pounce on any mistakes could be Napoli striker Fabio Quagliarella, whose goal against Switzerland in the final warm-up game should have done enough to convince Lippi that he is worth a place in the starting line-up.

Trivia: Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar's eighth-minute substitution against England in 2006 was the quickest substitution of a shot-stopper in World Cup history.

Stats: In 2006, Italy's 12 goals were scored by ten different players - a record jointly held with France (1982).

Odds: Italy (2.10), the draw (3.10), Paraguay (4.00) with Bet365. A 1-0 win for Italy looks promising at 5.50.

Prediction: As long as the Azzurri's notoriously tight defence remains that way to stifle the threat of Barrios and Santa Cruz, they will have every chance of succeeding where Argentina and France failed before them - by winning their opening match as defending champions.

June 14, 2010, 10:01 PM
Minnows out to make waves (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264062&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

New Zealand head into their second World Cup campaign as massive underdogs. Competing in their first tournament since 1982, the All Whites are available at 2,000-1 to lift the trophy in South Africa, the longest odds of any of the 32 nations.

Although their appearance at the finals may seem an impressive achievement, when you consider they navigated a qualifying zone containing minnows such as New Caledonia, Vainatu and Fiji, it looks a far less creditable accomplishment. Despite the gulf in class that will exist between them and the majority of teams at the finals, New Zealand will believe Tuesday's opener against Slovakia represents their best chance of picking up three points. Ricki Herbert's squad have demonstrated an ability to cope with the big occasion when they defeated Bahrain in a nail-biting World Cup play off, so confidence could be high among the players that they can gain a positive result.

Slovakia will be competing in their first finals as an independent nation after topping a qualifying group that included respected campaigners Poland and arch-rivals Czech Republic. Their squad has a good blend of youth and experience, with defenders such as Martin Skrtel and Marek Cech offering a solid foundation for attacking talents such as Vladimir Weiss and Miroslav Stoch, while, in Marek Hamsik, they may have a star in the making.

New Zealand player in focus: Shane Smeltz. Playing against superior opposition, goal-scoring chances will be at a premium for New Zealand. It is essential, therefore, that chances are taken when they arrive. Shane Smeltz is likely to be the man those chances will fall to and, if he fails to take them, the All Whites' stay in South Africa will be short. Smeltz does have goalscoring pedigree, having been the leading scorer in Australia's A-League for the last two seasons. If he can take his club form into the World Cup, Ricki Herbert's side might just spring a surprise.

Slovakia player in focus: Marek Hamsik. The 22-year-old, who is rumoured to be attracting the attention of Europe's top clubs, will have the perfect platform on which to display his talent in South Africa. With New Zealand likely to adopt a defensive approach to the game, the onus will be on Slovakia to break down their defence. In his role as chief creator in the Slovakia side, Hamsik has the potential to put New Zealand to the sword on Tuesday. Ably assisted by wide men Stoch and Weiss, Hamsik could well be the star of the show in Rustenburg.

Key battle: Ryan Nelsen v Stanislav Sestak. Vfl Bochum forward Sestak scored an impressive 28 Bundesliga goals last season, and he will be keen to mark his first World Cup appearance with at least one goal. Ryan Nelsen's Premier League experience is going to be central to New Zealand's hopes of avoiding humiliation in the tournament and, if he can get the better of Sestak, his team might be able to sneak a point, or possibly more.

Trivia: Nine of the players in the Czechoslovakia team that defeated West Germany in the 1976 European Championship final were Slovakian.

Stats: Slovakia's highest-ranked opponents during qualification were Slovenia, who are ranked 25th in the world. Before facing Bahrain, who are ranked 69th, New Zealand's highest-ranked opponents were Fiji, ranked 132th in the world.

Odds: New Zealand (9.00), the draw (4.33), Slovakia (1.40) with Bet365. Nerves may get the better of Slovakia in their first World Cup match, so 1-0 New Zealand at 19.00 could be good value.

Prediction: New Zealand will battle bravely but Slovakia should have too much quality for the Kiwis. With Hamsik and Sestak in their team, 2-0 to Slovakia seems a likely outcome.

June 15, 2010, 08:37 AM
all square in this group.

both results 1-1

nz 1 - slovakia 1
italy 1 - parguay 1

June 19, 2010, 10:02 PM
High stakes in Group F (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264064&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

Paraguay go into this Group F clash in high spirits after holding world champions Italy to 1-1 draw in their opening match and victory against Slovakia would leave them with one foot in the knockout stages.

However, coach Gerardo Martino believes his team can progress with two more draws so it is unlikely that Paraguay will go all out in attack, especially with World Cup minnows New Zealand still to come.

Star forwards Roque Santa Cruz and Oscar Cardozo are both returning from injury lay-offs and started on the bench against Italy, although they both came on to get taste of the action. Martino is unlikely to want to radically change his team so it is expected only one of the pair will make his starting XI.

Slovakia's late lack of concentration cost them victory against New Zealand when they allowed Winston Reid to score an injury-time header to claim a 1-1 draw. As a consequence, the pressure is on to get a result in a group where all four teams have one point after the first round of games. With Italy lying in wait, this will be the game earmarked for three points.

Slovakia player to watch: Vladimir Weiss - As the son of the manager the spotlight is always going to be on the young winger and against New Zealand he put on a scintillating display. Weiss provides a constant threat and is always quick to go the attack.

Paraguay player to watch: Cristian Riveros - The Cruz Azul player is the hub around which Paraguay's midfield operates. He offers a mix of sharp tackling, box-to-box running and an excellent pass-and-move game. Although not prolific, he is a scorer of important goals.

Key battle: Marek Hamsik v Victor Caceres. Slovakia's playmaker is rumoured to be attracting the attention of Europe's top clubs and will be given the task of unlocking Paraguay's rear-guard. Caceres is the tough tackling, tactically astute defensive midfielder charged with stopping Hamsik. But if he picks up another yellow card he will miss Paraguay's final group game.

Trivia: Robert Vittek scored in his first appearance in the 2010 finals, this after failing to score in any of his nine appearances for Slovakia during qualification.

Stats: Six of the last ten goals Paraguay have conceded at the World Cup finals have come from set-pieces. And they have won just one of their last 12 World Cup games against European opposition.

Odds: Slovakia (3.75), Paraguay (2.10) and the draw (3.20) are all on offer at Bet365, but a 2-2 draw will get 21.00.

Prediction: This will be a closely fought match and with both sides struggling to win recently a draw looks the likely result.

June 19, 2010, 10:04 PM
All Whites to keep the faith (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264063&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

Ricki Herbert's New Zealand claimed a surprising, last-gasp 1-1 draw against Slovakia in their opening game of the World Cup and are expected to stick with the same line up for Sunday's clash with defending world champions Italy.

With midfielder Tim Brown still to fully recover from a shoulder injury, Herbert will be hoping one of his regulars can recreate the goalscoring heroics of Winston Reid as the All Whites head into their greatest ever challenge.

But Marcello Lippi's Italy, who had to come from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw in their Group F opener against Paraguay, have a few issues to contend with and the 62-year-old coach was heard to launch into a tirade at his shot-shy strikers during training. As a consequence, Italy may well go with two up top in 4-4-2 formation as they go for the win.

The Azzurri also have to make changes at the back after goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was ruled out until the latter stages of the World Cup with a herniated disc problem, meaning Federico Marchetti, who came on at half-time against Paraguay, will start.

Italy player to watch: Gianluca Zambrotta - The ever reliable full back was the man of the match against Paraguay and provided the Italians with some much needed width. He makes intelligent runs and provides consistently good crosses into the box.

New Zealand player to watch: Shane Smeltz - The Gold Coast United striker got a taste for feeding on scraps against Slovakia and will have to do so again. However, he is the All Whites' best natural finisher and their top marksman in qualification with eight goals.

Key Battle: Claudio Marchisio v Simon Elliott - The Juve midfielder prodded and probed without too much end product against Paraguay and he needs to up his game against New Zealand to provide the supply to Italy's strikers. The man hoping to stifle Marchisio will be 36-year-old veteran Elliot, who remains the most influential man in the All Whites' engine room and is a defensive midfielder of considerable poise.

Trivia: These teams have only met once, in June 2009, when Italy won 4-3 despite having been behind three times during the match.

Stats: The Azzurri's second choice keeper Federico Marchetti, who will start in Nelspruit, has kept four clean sheets in six caps so far.

Odds: Italy (1.22), New Zealand (15.00), the draw (6.00) are all on offer at Bet365, but a 1-1 draw will get 13.00.

Prediction: After a relatively poor opening game Italy will be fully focused on taking all three points against the minnows of the World Cup. This could be a high-scoring game.

June 20, 2010, 11:05 AM
so this group also gets interesting

paraguauy: needs a draw and they are through.

NZ: win against paraguay they go through. if they draw and italy also draw agaisnt slovaks it will come to goals scored between NZ and italy.

Italy: similar to NZ. need to win agaisnt slovaks. if they draw also needs the other game to draw and they must score more than itlaians

Slovakia: must win. and also hope NZ dont win. if NZ win it, it will come to GD between slovaks and paraguay.

June 23, 2010, 11:48 AM
Champions need to improve (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264065&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

The world champions come into a must-win game in poor form. Italy have drawn against Paraguay and New Zealand already at this World Cup and their last three matches in the tournament (including the 2006 final) has seen them concede first before drawing 1-1.

In-fighting has seen coach Marcello Lippi criticised by some of his players for his tactics. Claudio Marchisio, the most vocal, has grown tired of what he calls ''experiments'' in the formation, but Lippi has maintained that the team spirit is intact. We shall see.

But they come up against a Slovakia side that have only managed three shots on target after their first two games. With star midfielder Marek Hamsik failing to fire, Slovakia have not impressed, but it is a measure of the competition thus far that if they manage to beat the Italians (and Paraguay beat New Zealand) they would qualify.

The only previous encounter between these two sides was a 3-0 win for Italy in 1998, but with Group F the group of draws, one wonders if Italy have enough to see themselves safely through.

Slovakia player to watch: Martin Skrtel. The Liverpool defender was an injury doubt before the tournament, but he has come to the fore and shown some commanding performances in the heart of Slovakia's defence. Strong and as committed as any player in South Africa, Skrtel's physicality has stopped the minnows being rolled over and he will have to be at his best again to keep Italy off the scoresheet.

Italy player to watch: Daniele De Rossi. The Roma star is highly rated by his team-mates and is seen as one of the best midfielders in the world. Combative, tough and aggressive, he has said that Italy must put in a much better performance than they have thus far, saying: ''We'll have to improve quickly, because otherwise we won't be going far." How he manages to distribute the ball in the centre will play a large part in Italy's hopes of success.

Key Battle: Jan Mucha v Vincenzo Iaquinta. If Slovakia follow their pattern of play, then a lot of the game could be played in their own half. Italy have strikers who are the subject of interest in every transfer window, but they have not lit up the World Cup thus far. Mucha has shown glimpses of his talent in between the sticks, while Iaquinta has struggled in front of goal and only managed to net from the spot against New Zealand.

Trivia: Italy have conceded two goals from the only two shots on target they have conceded at this World Cup.

Stats: Italy have scored 11 of their last 16 goals at World Cup finals from set-pieces, while three of the four matches in Group F have finished 1-1.

Odds: Slovakia (6.50), Italy (1.53) and a draw (4.00) are all available at Bet 365, but a 1-1 draw will get you 8.00.

Prediction: A 1-1 draw seems likely given the poor form of both teams, but one feels Italy have to turn it around eventually and now may be that time.

June 23, 2010, 11:50 AM
All Whites seeking place in history (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264066&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

If New Zealand were to pick up a scoring draw and Italy were held 0-0 by Slovakia, then the All Whites would go through on goal scored and if they both manage to draw by the same scoreline then it goes to the drawing of lots. A win against Paraguay would also ensure New Zealand's progress (possibly as group winners) and it would represent the single biggest shock in World Cup history if they were to qualify.

Not given a hope of even getting a point at the tournament, they have impressed with their functional style of play and picked up two impressive points in their first two games. Who is to say they can't do it again?

Paraguay won't be an easy proposition though. The team that impressed more in the qualifiers than Argentina have shown that they have the spirit to push for top spot with a convincing win over Slovakia and a battling draw against Italy. Playing decent attacking football, with a high-energy approach, they have quality throughout their ranks and should be favourites.

Paraguay player to watch: Cristian Riveros . Steve Bruce may have picked himself up a bargain as the new Sunderland recruit has looked imperious in the Paraguay midfield. A brilliant pass-and-move player, his stamina has impressed and he has been one of the shining lights of Group F thus far. Boasting a tough tackle as well, Paraguay have used him on the left of a three-man midfield to control and win the ball back, while he has been encouraged to join the attack as much as possible.

New Zealand player to watch: Rory Fallon. While fellow striker Shane Smeltz has taken the headlines for his goal against Italy, Fallon has been the battering ram up front that creates space for his team-mates. Criticised by the Italians for use of the arm while jumping, Fallon is a tough customer and can hold the ball up with his strength to give New Zealand a different option up front. The hero of the Bahrain play-off could use a goal though.

Key Battle: Lucas Barrios v Tommy Smith. Barrios has managed three goals and two assists in five games for Paraguay so far in his career and his star is on the rise. With pace and skill up front, he was tipped as one of the players to watch out for before the tournament and has come good. Alongside Ryan Nelsen, Smith has shown his talent at the tender age of 20, marshalling the defence and forming a great partnership with the Blackburn man. He gave away a silly penalty against Italy, but with that to the back of his mind, he will have his hands full stopping Barrios.

Trivia: This is the 750th match in World Cup history.

Stats: Twelve of Paraguay's last 13 wins have come when they have kept a clean sheet, while New Zealand have scored two goals from just three shots on target in this World Cup.

Odds: Paraguay (1,50), New Zealand (7.00) and a draw (4.20) are all available at Bet 365, but a 0-0 draw will get you 9.00.

Prediction: If New Zealand can play like they have thus far, they stand every chance of picking up another draw. One feels a tough 1-0 defeat may await them though.

June 24, 2010, 10:51 AM
Italy & NZ :out::outbad:

Paraguay (group champ) & Slovakia gone through to last 16.

June 24, 2010, 10:58 AM
HAHA ITaly! Suck on That!!!

Slovakia was sloppy enough to give you two goals!

June 24, 2010, 11:12 AM
well done slovaks .....

shame on italy

June 24, 2010, 11:15 AM
NZ would be happy to go home with 3 draws rather than 3 expected defeats

June 24, 2010, 06:52 PM
Italy :wow: eeeek