Italy took a point from their 2010 World Cup opener against Paraguay on June 14. The Azzurri failed to live up to their fans’ expectations. However, they were playing without veteran Andrea Pirlo in midfield and without top choice goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon for most part of the game. These factors among others explain that Italy’s hard-fought draw against Paraguay contained more positives than negatives certainly.
Coach Marcello Lippi is therefore keen to lineup the same squad that opened Italy’s 2010 World Cup campaign with a draw. According to reports from Sky Sport Italia, the only change will be in goal as Marchetti will take the gloves and start the match as a replacement for the injured Buffon. It is believed that Italy will play a 4-4-2 formation with Gilardino and Iaquinta leading the attack.
Like Group A was after Match-day One, Group F remains as it was before the tournament even kicked off. All four teams are on 1 point each as Slovakia and New Zealand recorded the same result produced in the Italy vs Paraguay encounter. Well, analytically, the 2006 FIFA World Cup champions will have one foot in the Last 16 should they bury any kind of upset by defeating New Zealand.
Predictions suggest that the Kiwis will lose against the Azzurri. All the same, the Oceania giants will want to prove their progress on the international stage. In a way or another, New Zealand stole a point against Slovakia to boost their moral ahead of their match against Italy. They are the only team so far in the 2010 World Cup tournament to score in injury time so as to steal something out of a game.
New Zealand’s spirit is strong and certainly, the doors are open for the 2009 Confederations Cup participants to shock the world in South Africa.
If Switzerland managed to hold giants Italy to a 1-1 draw in a warm-up game on June 5 before stunning Spain 1-0 earlier in the week, why can’t the Kiwis do something similar? The Jabulani ball is unpredictable after all – which makes the round game of football even more unpredictable.
Italy will end their group stage fixtures with a game against Slovakia on June 24 as New Zealand will fancy their chances against South America’s Paraguay. How will Match-day Two affect the standings in Group F?
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