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Posted on: Monday, 21 June 2010

Monday Morning 2010 World Cup News

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Vincenzo Iaquinta

Vincenzo Iaquinta

Draw leaves Italy in danger of early exit
New Zealand produced a spirited and determined performance when they held defending champions Italy to a 1-1 draw in an enthralling World Cup Group F encounter at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Sunday. The result leaves the fifth ranked Azzurri with a lot to do to make it through to the knockout stages after they drew their opening match (also 1-1) with Paraguay a week ago.

Shane Smeltz stunned Italy early on when he found the back of the net in the seventh minute. His goal originated from New Zealand’s first attack of the match after Simon Elliot lofted a long free kick in from the left towards the back post. The ball floated over the heads of the Azzurri defenders and bounced off Fabio Cannavaro’s knee, leaving Smeltz free to stab the ball home from inside the six-yard box.

Shocked at being a goal down so early in the contest, Italy pressed hard for an equaliser and they got one in the 29th minute when Vincenzo Iaquinta (pictured) was successful from the penalty spot after Tommy Smith was judged to have fouled Daniele de Rossi in the box. Smith pulled at De Rossi’s shirt inside the penalty area, the Italian made an Oscar winning dive to ground and referee Carlos Batres promptly pointed to the spot. It was undoubtedly a harsh decision and the end result was Iaquinta’s spot kick rifling into the net and 1-1 on the scoreboard.

Buoyed by the equaliser, the Italians pressed hard for a second goal, but the New Zealand defence held firm prompting Azzurri coach Marcello Lippi to make two changes at halftime. He brought on Mauro Camoranesi on the right and Antonio Di Natale in the centre, but although both players looked in good touch, neither were able to conjour up a goal.

Riccardo Montolivo and Camoranesi tested Kiwi goalkeeper Mark Paston with long range efforts in the final 20 minutes while at the other end, second half substitute Chris Wood almost netted the winner for the All Whites when he blasted a low shot just wide of Federico Marchetti’s left hand post.

The result means Italy have only two points from their opening two Group F matches. They square off against Slovakia in their final group match on Thursday and need a win to guarantee a place in the last 16. New Zealand also have two points and have a chance of making it to the knockout stages if they can take something from their final match against Paraguay, also on Thursday.

“We knew we’d be up against it tonight but we showed great resilience and I’m well pleased,” said New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert. “We’re going to be bloody hard to beat I’ll tell you that,” he added. The surprising result was by far the best ever in New Zealand’s modest footballing history. The island nation have only made one previous appearance in a World Cup – a disasterous campaign in which they lost all three of their matches.

For the Italians on the other hand, it was an embarrassing setback to the defence of their title and although they tried hard to find a winner against the 78th ranked underdogs, they looked a shadow of the side that won the trophy four years ago. “Certainly it’s not the will of the lads that is missing but a bit of fluidity. We hit post and had chances but we created little really,” said Lippi afterwards.

Whatever the reason for their disappointing result, the fact remains that the Azzurri are, like many other highly ranked teams in this World Cup, in danger of going out without even making it to the last 16. They simply have to come up with a winning formula against Slovakia on Thursday, otherwise they face an early trip home.

Luis Fabiano

Luis Fabiano

Samba Kings too good for Elephants
Brazil had way too much class for Ivory Coast as the Samba Kings cruised to a comfortably 3-1 victory over the Elephants at Soccer City in Johannesburg last night. However, the five-time champions’ victory was marred by the controversial sending off of star midfielder Kaka just two minutes before the end.

In an off-the-ball incident, Ivory Coast’s Kader Keita ran into Kaka and dramatically went to ground. With Kaka protesting his innocence, referee Stephane Lannoy – who appeared not to have seen the incident – pulled out a yellow card. Having already been booked for a clumsy challenge on Yaya Toure, it meant marching orders for Kaka, who could face more than his automatic one-game ban, if FIFA rules it was violent conduct. That is unlikely to happen however, as television replays clearly showed that whatever contact was made, was minimal.

The sending off of Kaka aside, the Brazilians must have been very happy with their performance which was a marked improvement on their 2-1 win over North Korea last Tuesday. Luis Fabiano (pictured) opened the scoring in the 25th minute when his powerful shot left Ivory Coast goalkeeper Boubacar Barry flailing at thin air as the ball whistled into the roof of the net.

The 29-year-old Fabiano added a second goal on 50 minutes after an audacious run, but television replays showed it might have been scored with the help of a double hand ball. Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba, who played with a cast on his fractured arm, almost pulled one back for his side when his header went narrowly wide, but a third Brazilian goal was not far off.

Kaka was put away on the left and found plenty of space to cut the ball back for the unmarked Elano, who easily stroked the ball past Barry on 63 minutes. However, the joy was shortlived for the 29-year-old central midfielder when he was stretchered off shortly afterwards, caught on the shin by the studs of Cheik Tiote, to be replaced by Dani Alves.

With Brazil now 3-0 up and playing flowing football it seemed like more goals were on the menu, but a quick break by Ivory Coast’s Gervinho set up Drogba for his first goal of the finals. The 32-year-old centre forward’s well-placed 79th minute header gave Brazil ’keeper Julio Cesar no chance and offered Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side a glimmer of hope.

However, that hope was quickly snuffed out as the match descended into chaos for the remaining 15 minutes as players from both teams become embroiled in off the ball incidents culminating in the sending off of Kaka just minutes before the final whistle.

The result means that Brazil have now qualified for the last 16 while Ivory Coast must beat North Korea in their final Group G match on Friday to reach the second round.

Cristian Riveros

Cristian Riveros

Paraguay inch closer to last 16
Paraguay took another step towards securing a place in the second round of the 2010 Fifa World Cup when they defeated Slovakia 2-0 at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Sunday. The South Americans took the lead in the 27th minute when Enrique Vera blasted the ball into the back of the net from 12 metres out, and added a second goal four minutes from time courtesy of a brilliant left-footed strike from strong>Cristian Riveros (pictured right).

In a game of few chances it was Paraguay who made better use of their opportunities as Slovakia looked strangely out of sorts and never got going on a bright and sunny winter afternoon. Perhaps drawing 1-1 with lowly ranked New Zealand in their opening game on Tuesday had deflated the Eastern Europeans somewhat, but whatever the reason for their mediocare performance, qualifying for the last 16 will now be a difficult, if not impossible task.

Paraguay domianted the action in the opening half and were rewarded for their efforts when Vera found the target after being set up by Lucas Barrios from the left. The goal stung the Slovaks into action and after a decent passage of play, defender Kornel Salata headed over the crossbar following a 37th minute corner kick.

The South Americans nearly went 2-0 ahead a few minutes later when striker Roque Santa Cruz latched onto a sloppy back pass only to see his shot blocked by ’keeper Jan Mucha. The second 45 minutes saw Paraguay tighten their grip on the game and although Jan Durica made a spirited run down the left to earn Slovakia a 62nd minute corner, it was squandered.

Paraguay, who were undoubtedly the hungrier of the two sides, sealed the win in the 86th minute when Riveros slammed home his drive from the edge of the box. It was a throughly deserved victory for the South Americans who face New Zealand on Thursday in their final Group F fixture.

Other World Cup results (From left to right, African teams in bold)
Germany 0 – Serbia 1
Slovenia 2 – USA 2
England 0 – Algeria 0
Ghana 1 – Australia 1
Netherlands 1 – Japan 0
Cameroon 1 – Denmark 2

Latest World Cup Standings
Group A
Pos / Team / Pts
1  Uruguay 4
2 Mexico 4
3 France 1
4 South Africa 1

Group B
Pos / Team / Pts
1 Argentina 6
2 South Korea 3
3 Greece 3
4 Nigeria 0

Group C
Pos / Team / Pts
1 Slovenia 4
2 USA 2
3 England 2
4 Algeria 1

Group D
Pos / Team / Pts
1 Ghana 4
2 Germany 3
3 Serbia 3
4 Australia 1

Group E
Pos / Team / Pts
1 Holland 6
2 Japan 3
3 Denmark 3
4 Cameroon 0

Group F
Pos / Team / Pts
1 Paraguay 4
2 Italy 2
3 New Zealand 2
4 Slovakia 1

Group G
Pos / Team / Pts
1 Brazil 6
2 Portugal 1
3 Ivory Coast 1
4 North Korea 0

Group H
Pos / Team / Pts
1 Chile 3
2 Switzerland 3
3 Honduras 0
4 Spain 0

Upcoming matches
Portugal vs North Korea – Cape Town – 1.30pm
Chile vs Switzerland – Port Elizabeth – 4pm
Spain vs Honduras – Ellis Park – 8.30pm

Mexico vs Uruguay – Rustenburg – 4pm
France vs South Africa – Bloemfontein – 4pm
Nigeria vs South Korea – Durban – 8.30pm
Greece vs Argentina – Polokwane – 8.30pm

Sport in brief
Emperors Palace, Kempton Park
IBO miniumweight championship
Gideon Buthelezi (SA) W12 Ronelle Ferreras (Phillipines)
IBO junior flyweight championship
Hekkie Budler (SA) W12 Junanito Rubillar (Phillipines)
IBO super middleweight championship
Isaac Chilembe (Malawi) W12 Michael Bolling (Australia)
IBO Africa lightweight title
Jason Bedeman (SA) TKO 3 Bongani Dlamini (SA)
International heavyweight
Florante Simba (Congo) W6 Elvis Moya (Zimbabwe)

Second test, South Africa vs West Indies
Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts
SA: First innings: 543/6 declared (Smith 132, Kallis 110, De Villiers 135 not out, Shillingford 3/193)
West Indies: First innings: 424/4 (Chanderpaul 151 not out, Nash 114, Morkel 2/87)
Match status: West Indies trail by 119 runs at close of play on day three.

First test, Italy vs South Africa
Puma Stadium, Witbank
South Africa 29 – Tries: Bryan Habana, Francois Louw, Morné Steyn, Zane Kirchner. Conversions: Steyn (3). Penalty: Steyn.
Italy 13 – Try: Sergio Parisse. Conversion: Mirco Bergamasco. Penalties: Bergamasco (2).

South African Links:
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1 comment about Monday Morning 2010 World Cup News
  1. June 22nd, 2010 at 09:58
    Jane says:

    Thank you for the soccer news update and the other sports taking place. Continue to keep us informed. Thanks again