Holders Italy eliminated, Slovakia advance with historic win (Lead)June 24th, 2010 - 11:04 pm ICT by IANS
Johannesburg, June 24 (DPA) For the first time in World Cup history, both finalists of the previous championship failed to advance from the first round as reigning champions Italy were eliminated from South Africa 2010 Thursday with a 2-3 loss against Slovakia, who used their first ever World Cup victory to advance to the Round of 16.
Robert Vittek scored in the 25th and 73rd minutes for a 2-0 lead at Ellis Park Stadium. Antonio Di Natale pulled a goal back in the 81st minute. But Kamil Kopunek decided the match with his score in the 89th though Fabio Quagliarella made it 3-2 in the second minute of stoppage time.
Italy became just the fourth title-holder to fail to advance from the first stage following they themselves in 1950, Brazil in 1966 and France in 2002.
The 2006 finalists France were eliminated earlier in the tournament from Group A. And Italy failed to make it past the first round for the first time since 1974.
World Cup debutants Slovakia finished second in Group F with four points behind Paraguay, while mighty Italy were last with two points.
In the Round of 16, Slovakia will take on the Group E winners - most likely the Netherlands.
Tags: antonio di natale, brazil, debutants, dpa, ellis park, ellis park stadium, four points, italy, johannesburg, june 24, match, netherlands, paraguay, quagliarella, robert vittek, slovakia, south africa 2010, stoppage time, world cup history, world cup victory