The World Cup is fast getting to the knockout rounds with teams from Group F playing their final group matches, ahead of Group E who play later on in the evening. Group F has Italy, a nation with great footballing history as well as the new kids on the block, New Zealand. Paraguay and Slovakia are the other two teams making up this intriguing group. Slovakia managed only three shots on target in their first two games and have been almost as unimpressive as the current World Cup holders Italy. Paraguay, however have been very impressive and New Zealand are yet to lose a game at the 2010 World Cup.
Today’s Group F Matches: Slovakia-Italy, Paraguay-New Zealand
World Cup 2010 Group F Standings
How Your Team Can Qualify
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Paraguay had the unenviable task of playing current World Cup holders Italy in their World Cup opening match. The South Americans, however, held the Europeans to a 1-1 draw. They played Slovakia next and won 2-0. This sees them sitting at the top of Group F with 4 points.
To top the group, all Paraguay need to do is win their game against New Zealand today. However, if Paraguay draw their game and Slovakia beat Italy in the other match, Paraguay still go through as group winners. Even if, Italy win in the other match, Paraguay still have a chance of going through as group winners if the Italy win leaves Paraguay ahead of Italy on goal difference.
A draw is enough for Paraguay to simply qualify to the next round. However, if Paraguay lose to New Zealand, then they need either the Slovakia-Italy match to end in a draw or a Slovakia win that leaves Paraguay ahead of Slovakia on goal difference.
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Italy have one of the oldest footballing histories, unfortunately, they also have one of the oldest football squads at the World Cup 2010. They started their World Cup campaign with a disappointing 1-1 draw with Paraguay and then continued their dull form by drawing 1-1 with New Zealand in their next match. Italy with 2 points are currently level on points, goal difference and goals scored with New Zealand.
To go through to the last 16 as winners of Group F, Italy need 1) to win their game against Slovakia and 2) the match between Paraguay-New Zealand to end either in a draw that leaves Italy ahead of Paraguay on goal difference or a win for New Zealand that leaves Italy ahead of New Zealand on goal difference.
A win over Slovakia guarantees Italy qualification to the next round. However, if Italy draw their game against Slovakia, they then need Paraguay to beat New Zealand or the Paraguay-New Zealand match to end in a draw that leaves them ahead of New Zealand on goals scored as the goal difference will be tied. However, if both the matches end in a draw with the same score, it could lead to drawing of lots to see who progresses to the next round.
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New Zealand drew their opening match against Slovakia 1-1 and no one predicted that they could repeat the feat against Italy in their next match. However, the All Whites made the champions look quite ordinary. New Zealand are currently level on points, goal difference and goals scored with the Azzuri. The very fact that they held Italy to a draw must have added to their confidence and the belief in the New Zealand squad will be very high. They can be counted upon to give it their all today and try and make it to the last 16.
“You can always dream the dream and we are dreaming it” – Ricki Herbert, New Zealand manager.
To top their group, New Zealand need to win their game against Paraguay and hope that the Slovakia-Italy match ends in a draw. However, if Italy win their match, then New Zealand need to make sure that they are ahead of Italy on goal difference, which means that they must beat Paraguay by more goals than what Italy beat Slovakia by.
A win over Paraguay guarantees New Zealand a spot in the last 16. However if New Zealand draw their match and the Slovakia-Italy match also ends in a draw, then New Zealand must be ahead of Italy on goals scored as their goal difference would be tied. If both matches end up in draws and have the same score, it could lead to drawing of lots to see who goes through to the next round.
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Slovakia’s first match at the World Cup was against New Zealand and ended in a 1-1 draw. However, they lost 2-0 in their next match against Paraguay. They sit fourth in Group F with 1 point.
It is impossible for Slovakia who play Italy today, to go through to the next round as winners of Group F. To keep their outside chance of qualifying to the last 16 alive, they must beat Italy today.
If Slovakia win against Italy and the match between Paraguay and New Zealand ends in draw or a win for Paraguay, then Slovakia go through. However, if New Zealand win, Slovakia can still go through if they have won their game against Italy and are ahead of Paraguay on goal difference.