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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Slovakia 3-2 Italy - World Cup holders eliminated

Reigning champions Italy have been knocked out of the World Cup by Slovakia who claimed a famous 3-2 victory at Ellis Park.

Robert Vittel scored twice for SLovakia, once in each half, to seemingly give Slovakia a winning 2-0 lead, but Antonio Di Natale pulled it back to 2-1 with 81 minutes gone.

The Italians needed another goal to claim the point that would be enough to scrape through from Group F and thought they had it through substitute Fabio Quagliarella, only for the offside flag to agonisingly deny them.

Slovakia substitute Kamil Kopunek exploited hesitation in the Italy defence, running on to a throw-in and lifting the ball brilliantly beyond the advancing Federico Marchetti with one minute of normal time remaining to give Slovakia a 3-1 lead.

But there was still time for Quagliarella to score with a superb injury-time strike to bring the score back to 3-2 and then Simone Pepe scuffed a far-post volley in a last-ditch attempt by Italy to remain in the tournament.

The final whistle resulted in mass celebrations from the Slovakia players and fans - and Italy are out.

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