By Kenneth Tan/Red Sports

South Africa, Thursday, June 24, 2010 — It is confirmed — we will have a new champion at this year’s World Cup as defending champions Italy were dumped out in dramatic fashion after a 3-2 upset at the hands of debutants Slovakia.

Meanwhile, minnows New Zealand were denied a fairytale run into the last 16 after they were held 0-0 by Paraguay. Despite not losing a single match, they had to be content with third spot in Group F after three successive draws.

Paraguay finished as Group F winners on five points while Slovakia took the second spot with four points. Italy finished last.

The Italians’ famed Catenaccio style of football that saw them concede only two goals in their successful campaign in 2006 was non-existent in this match. Slovakia forward Robert Vittek took advantage on 25 minutes after Italy gave the ball away cheaply in defence to slot his finish into the bottom left corner for his opener.

After Martin Skrtel cleared off the line from Italy substitute Fabio Quagliarella, Vittek went on to net his second goal on 73 minutes after he slotted inside Federico Marchetti’s near post from a Marek Hamsik cross.

Antonio Di Natale pulled one back for Italy with a tap-in on 81 minutes but Slovakia went further ahead at 3-1 six minutes later when substitute Kamil Kopunek chipped Marchetti with his first touch.

Quagliarella ensured a nervy finish to the match when he chipped Slovakia keeper Jan Mucha on 90 minutes but the Slovaks were not to be denied their first ever victory at the World Cup which ensured they progressed to the second round at the expense of the defending champions.

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Video highlights of the match

More News and Reactions on Paraguay vs New Zealand
Video highlights of the match

PARAGUAY 312031+25
SLOVAKIA 311145-14
NEW ZEALAND 30302203
ITALY 302145-12
Paraguay and Slovakia qualify for round of 16.

For the World Cup fixtures list with Singapore broadcast timings as well as group tables and the list of CCs with free screenings, go to:

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