Two late goals was not enough to save Italy who went down 3-2 to Slovakia in Johannesburg, ending their time in the 2010 World Cup.
Slovakia: 3 (Roberti Vittek 25’, 73’, Kamil Kopunek 89’)
Italy: 2 (Antonio Di Natale 81’, Fabio Quagliarella 90+2’)
Venue: Ellis Park Stadium - Johannesburg
Referee: Howard Webb (ENG)
Yellow cards: SVK - Zdeno Strba 16’, Robert Vittek 40’, Peter Pekarik 50’, Jan Mucha 82’
ITA - Fabio Cannavaro 31’, Giorgio Chiellini 67’, Simone Pepe 76’, Fabio Quagliarella 83’
Slovakia started the better of the two sides and managed to go a goal up in the 25th minute when Robert Vittek made a nice run between a pair of defenders before slotting neatly past Federico Marchetti.
They held onto that lead despite the Italians applying plenty or pressure, particularly going forward, for the next 50 minutes before finding themselves two goals to the good.
Vittek made it a double when he slide from close range after a corner and the job ahead of the reigning champions to qualify looked enormous.
The pressure was eased slightly when Antonio Di Natale scored into an empty net following a Vincenzo Iaquinta shot which made it 2-1 in the 81st minute but as the Azzurri pressed for a leveller, Slovakia restored their two-goal buffer courtesy of an 89th minute Kamil Kopunek who lobbed over Marchetti with a first time touch in the area.
Italy got another goal back via Fabio Quagliarella who managed a sublime chip over Jan Mucha in stoppage time but it came as no more than a consolation as the defending champs were unceremoniously dumped out of the competiton.
Jan Mucha (gk), Peter Pekarik, Martin Skrtel, Radoslav Zabavnik, Zdeno Strba (Kopunek 87’), Robert Vittek (Sestak 90+2’), Miroslav Stoch, Jan Durica, Marek Hamsik, Erik Jendrisek (Petras 90+4’), Juraj Kucka
Subs - Kamil Kopunek (87’), Stanislav Sestak (90+2’), Martin Petras (90+4’)
Federico Marchetti (gk), Domenico Criscito (Maggio 46’), Giorgio Chiellini, Fabio Cannavaro, Daniele De Rossi, Simone Pepe, Gennaro Gattuso (Quagliarella 46’), Vincenzo Iaquinta, Antonio Di Natale, Gianluca Zambrotta, Riccardo Montolivo (Pirlo 56’)
Subs - Christian Maggio (46’), Fabio Quagliarella (46’), Andrea Pirlo (56’)