JOHANNESBURG: For the first time in World Cup history, both finalists of the previous champions failed to advance from the first round as reigning champions. Italy were eliminated from South Africa 2010 Thursday with a 2-3 loss against Slovakia, who used their first forever World Cup triumph to advance to the Round of 16.
Robert Vittek goaled in the 25th and 73rd minutes for a 2-0 lead at Ellis Park Stadium. Antonio Di Natale tried to pulled a goal back in the 81st minute. But Kamil Kopunek decided the match with his score in the 89th though Fabio Quagliarella made it 3-2 in the second minute of walk out time.
Italy became just the fourth title-holder to fail to advance from the first stage following themselves in 1950, Brazil in 1966 and France in 2002.The 2006 finalists France were eliminated before in the tournament from Group A. And Italy failed to make it long-ago the first round for the first time since 1974.
World Cup debuts Slovakia completed second in Group F with four points behind Paraguay, while mighty Italy were last with two points.In the Round of 16, Slovakia take on the Group E winners – most likely the Netherlands.