Slovakia send WC holders home

Italy and New Zealand knocked out while Paraguay and Slovakia progress from Group F.

    Italian fans were left disappointed with their teams early exit from the tournament [Reuters]

    "Three days of preparation for Italy were not so easy for me because in my mind I had questions about the starting 11," Weiss said.

    SPECIAL COVERAGE

    Meanwhile, Marcello Lippi, the Italian coach, took full responsibility for their humiliating exit, saying that he had not trained the team well enough.

    "I didn't think we could win the World Cup but I though we would do better," Lippi said.

    The 62-year-old, a national hero when he led the Italians to 2006 World Cup glory, had already announced he would step down after the finals.

    Paraguay progress

    In the other final game of Group F, New Zealand drew their third game against Paraguay, exiting the tournament without losing a game.

    The three draws were above and beyond expectations for the Kiwis and they received an appreciative send off from their supporters at the end.

    "I think I need to pinch myself," Ricki Herbert, New Zealand coach, said.

    "If you are going to exit the World Cup there are good ways of doing it."

    Gerardo Martino, Paraguay's coach, was pleased to get through to the second round but unhappy with his side's performance.

    "We played very badly in the first half and we played better in the second half," he said after the match.

    "I'm pleased with the qualification but not with the way we played. We had a lot of problems in an area where we didn't expect, and that was in attack."

    Striker Roque Santa Cruz agreed that the performance was below-par but credited New Zealand for their defending.

    "We don't feel happy because we didn't win but New Zealand were a very hard opponent and it is very difficult to play against them," he said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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