Slovakia Knocks Out Italy With 3-2 Upset

Defending champs finish dead last in Group F
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 24, 2010 11:27 AM CDT
Slovakia's Kamil Kopunek scores his side's third goal past Italy goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
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(Newser) – Defending champion Italy was eliminated from the World Cup today after a humbling 3-2 loss that sent Slovakia through to the round of 16. For the third consecutive match, the Azzurri allowed an early goal, and this time they never recovered. Robert Vittek put Slovakia ahead in the 25th minute at Ellis Park, taking advantage of an errant pass from midfielder Daniele De Rossi. He then doubled the lead from close range in the 73rd following a corner.

Antonio Di Natale pulled one back for Italy in the 81st, but Kamil Kopunek scored another in the 89th for the Slovaks. Fabio Quagliarella put in the final goal in injury time. Paraguay won Group F with five points, and Slovakia finished second with four points. Italy, for the first time ever, finished dead last in their group with two points. It was the end of an era for Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro and midfielder Gennaro Gattuso, who already announced they would retire from the national team after the tournament. Manager Marcello Lippi is also moving on.

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