World Cup 2010 - Who is your pick?

Italy humbled by All Whites :cool:

New Zealand caused South Africa 2010’s biggest upset thus far by holding world champions Italy to a 1-1 draw at Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium. In the end, only a Vincenzo Iaquinta penalty prevented Marcello Lippi’s Azzurri dropping all three points as the All Whites, who took an early lead through Shane Smeltz, produced a courageous and intelligent performance to earn their second FIFA World Cup™ point.

Faced with a side ranked 74 places above them, New Zealand might have been expected to park the proverbial bus in front of Mark Paston’s goal. In fact, the opposite was true. Evidently deciding that attack represented the best form of defence, coach Ricki Herbert fielded three strikers in an adventurous line-up, and was rewarded for his boldness with the opening goal inside seven minutes. New Zealand benefited from some distinctly un-Italian defending with the Azzurri rearguard left in chaos by an inswinging Simon Elliot free-kick. The most notable culprit was Fabio Cannavaro, who inadvertently cushioned the ball into the path of a grateful Smeltz. From four yards out, all the New Zealand No9 had to do was poke the ball under the diving Federico Marchetti.

In a tournament full of upsets, it looked at this stage that a truly momentous shock was on the cards, but an Italian response was not long in arriving. They should have been level after 16 minutes, in fact, after Cannavaro knocked down Simone Pepe’s corner for the well-positioned Giorgio Chiellini, but the Juventus centre-half provided a typical defender’s finish, smashing the ball out for a throw-in on the far side.

Italy were taking a stranglehold on possession, however, and after Gianluca Zambrotta just missed out on finding the top corner from 25 yards, Riccardo Montolivo went closer still, bending a superb effort around the statuesque Paston only to see the ball rebound to safety off the inside of the post. The Azzurri players must have wondered at this stage if this simply was not going to be their day, but their luck was to change after 28 minutes when Tommy Smith was penalised for pulling down Daniele De Rossi in the box. Iaquinta stepped up to take the resultant penalty and level the scores with a perfect spot-kick low to the left of the wrong-footed Paston.

Italy might have hauled themselves level, but Lippi remained unhappy enough to make a double substitution at half-time that saw Antonio Di Natale and Mauro Camoranesi enter the fray. The former, a prolific scorer in Serie A this season, nearly made an instant impact, firing in an imaginative right-foot volley that Paston could only parry clear. However, Lippi will have been hugely concerned at the relative ease with which New Zealand continued to hold his side at bay, and substitute Chris Wood came within a whisker of winning it for the Kiwis in the closing stages with a left-foot shot that slipped inches wide. Herbert’s side were certainly well worthy of a share of the spoils, and go into their final match against Paraguay with everything still to play for in Group F.

John, you are nearly catching me! this second round I took a pounding on my picks. :cool:

My vote for argentina :stuck_out_tongue: .

All the south american teams look very good, Argentina in particular. Will be interesting to see how things pan out.

Go DPRK! Make the Dear Leader proud!

and I haven’t picked NZ’s draws :o but to put it in perspective the matches have been NZ’s best and 2nd best ever results :eek:

Agree re the SA teams looking good so far.

North Korea are very disciplined (no surprise there), but their participation is probably their maximum. Chile beat quite difficult a 10-men Swiss team today, but they are a young team with good players -they probably have more to give! Paraguay are also good!

I always go with Brazil, so let’s see… :stuck_out_tongue:

If I were the coach I don’t think I would be looking forward to returning home to face Dear Leader.

BTW, I picked France! Well, they have provided the most entertainment. :rolleyes:

Did they train yesterday? :smiley:

Group F.

Team Pts

Paraguay 5
Slovakia 4
New Zealand 3
Italy 2


Italian & French football back on the crap heep.

Well, most of them are on £100,000 a week.

What. The French?, The Italians?, or The English?. There playing like they’ve never seen each other, never mind trained together.

Paraguay did what they had to do to top Group F with a scoreless draw with New Zealand in Polokwane on Thursday. The South Americans finished with five points, one ahead of Slovakia, who knocked out holders Italy in the group’s other match, while the All Whites go out unbeaten after their third consecutive draw.

Chances were very few and far between in a contest between the naturally defensive New Zealanders and a Paraguay side who looked comfortable enough playing for the draw that would take them through. There were a few early opportunities from free-kicks, as Kiwi Chris Killen almost got to the end of a long ball to the far post and Paraguay captain Denis Caniza shot wide two minutes later, but given each side’s well-organised defence, most of the action was restricted to the midfield. Caniza had the closest effort of the first period just before the half-hour mark, but his swerving shot was too high to trouble the goalkeeper.

New Zealand knew that a goal could send them through to the knockout rounds for the first time in their history, and they came out a bit more determined to go forward after half-time. The Oceanian representatives were almost rewarded in the 48th minute after some good work by Tony Lochhead down the left. The full-back’s cross found Simon Elliott just outside the area, but the veteran midfielder blazed past the corner of the goal with plenty of space.

A measure of the lack of opportunities was that the first corner of the match did not come until the 62nd minute, but from that Paraguay went close to scoring. Claudio Morel took a clever short delivery, which reached the head of Cristian Riveros, but his glancing effort was saved by the quick reflexes of Mark Paston in goal. Paston proved himself the hero for New Zealand as Paraguay pushed hard for a winner as the match wore on. In the 76th minute, he dived well to save Edgar Benitez’s shot, and then just got a touch at the feet of Lucas Barrios from the rebound to keep the ball out of his net. Shortly after, the big goalkeeper denied Roque Santa Cruz twice, once when he came off his line to smother at the striker’s feet from a breakaway, next with a punch from a dipping shot off a free-kick.

It was still a historic finals for the All Whites, who won their first points in the FIFA World Cup, and finished the group undefeated and in front of four-time world champions Italy. Paraguay will now face the second-placed team from Group E, which will be the Netherlands, Japan or Denmark on 29 June in Pretoria.

France and Italy out. Germany or England go out on Sunday. What a Cup!

It could be Spains turn tommorrow, if they lose to top of the table Chile & Switzerland beat Honduras.

I watched the all whites (in black) and made sure I felt no emotion in way of support towards them so as not to offend my neighbour John.:).

To go through undefeated and get knocked out seems a bit tough.

NZ’s run was quite impressive considering their team’s professional backgrounds.

Argentina has looked solid and I think they will make a long run. They seem to buy into Maradonna , and he sure is exciting to watch on the bench.

Uruguay has also impressed me. Their next match will be interesting for sure.

I think the winner will be a South American team this year. They look so strong so far. I don’t see anyone challenging them.

Brazil and Uruguay may meet in the semi’s, Argentina may be able to cruise to their semi.

I just don’t see anyone beating either Brazil or Argentina. But, I have a 20% success rate picking the first 3 group games :smiley:

takes more than that to offend me, and anyway we are both part of Anzacistan :stuck_out_tongue:

I think I read this is the 4th time a team has been undefeated and not progressed. That said before hand 1 point and not getting thrashed would have been a great outcome.

Re the value below is from an article in the local paper
[i]Using a website that calculates players’ value on the international transfer market, the starting Italian lineup was worth a whopping $255 million, with New Zealand rated at less than $16 million.

The most valuable Italian player, Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi, was valued at $52.5 million, or three times the value of the entire All Whites starting XI. [/i] :eek:

England and USA …goodbye.

Roll Argentina!!! =) Yes there were some questionable calls, but that has been in nearly every match thus far. Really hoping for Brazil --Argentina final.

I was so eager for the USA to do well & beat Ghana, best game I’ve seen thus far.

As for England… Well… There is going to be a massive inquest. Ripped to pieces.

IMHO this is a direct result of the high number of overseas players in the Premier League. From a domestic competition point of view it is good but it reduces the number of English players at that level (same in Rugby). This has to be one of the worst teams they have sent to the WC.

How different would things be had everyone been healthy as well?