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World Cup Daily Recap: Italy held by New Zealand, Brazil cruises, Paraguay wins


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New Zealand earned the biggest result in its history by holding the reigning World Cup champions to a shocking 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Determined defending by Ryan Nelsen and the rest of New Zealand's back line helped post the most surprising result of the World Cup, as Italy failed to score from the run of play in its second consecutive Group F match.

Shane Smeltz gave New Zealand a shocking lead against the Italians in the 7th minute when he latched onto a free kick and poked the ball home from inside the six-yard box.

Italy responded through a Vincenzo Iaquinta penalty kick later in the half after Daniele De Rossi embellished a shirt tug from Tommy Smith.

The Azzurri dominated the remainder of the match and unleashed 25 shots in total, but could not find the go-ahead goal, leaving New Zealand with a chance to advance from the group.

Here are the match highlights, as well as from the rest of Sunday's games:

Kaka sent off in Brazil's 3-1 win vs. Ivory Coast

Luis Fabiano scored two goals while Elano added another as Brazil posted a 3-1 victory over Ivory Coast in a chippy encounter.

Brazil advanced to the Round of 16 with the win, but ugly fouls and questionable refereeing decisions marred one of the most anticipated matches of the group stages. One of those calls was when Kaka was ejected with a second late yellow card for a questionable foul on Kader Keita.

Luis Fabiano also had a goal stand despite touching the ball with his hand and arm before slotting it to the near post.

Ivory Coast, which has just one point after two matches, scored its lone goal as Didier Drogba headed a cross past Julio Cesar 11 minutes from the final whistle.

Here are the match highlights:


Paraguay beats Slovakia, 2-0

Paraguay continued the South American teams' strong run of performances at the World Cup, defeating Slovakia 2-0 to put it in first place of Group F.

Goals from Enrique Vera and Cristian Riveros paved the way for Paraguay, which can secure advancement to the knockout stages with a draw in its final group match against New Zealand.

Slovakia struggled mightily against the Paraguayan defense, getting just one shot on goal in the match. Attackers Marek Hamsik and Vladimir Weiss failed to impose their wills, and now must help Slovakia to a win against Italy to have a shot at advancing.

Here are the match highlights:


Still can't believe New Zealand and Italy tied? Do you see Paraguay winning Group F? Will Slovakia reach the Round of 16? Impressed by Brazil? Disappointed by Ivory Coast?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Your resignation to everyone doing the wrong thing eventually is cynical and annoying. There are clearly national teams that dive more than others. It is not inevitable. What does the matter of Italian culture being ingrained in American life have anything to do with anything? There’s no disputing that some teams–say, the Italians–dive more than other world class teams like the Spanish or English. It has to be made known that it’s unacceptable.

  2. I think this cup is much better than 2006. You want to talk about marred by bad officiating and diving, that WC was the king of that. It seems like diving was the norm and all the refs were giving cards out for sneezing the wrong way. This tournament has been far better than 2006.

  3. I have said for a long time that every game in all tournaments and leagues should be reviewed by a committee and any player that dives should be suspended without pay for a game for the first one, two for the second, and so on. I think we would see the end of diving really fast.

  4. They said that it looks like he might have been offsides. A Kiwi flicked it towards goal with his head, it then hit an Italian and bounced to Smeltz. The question is whether Smeltz was offside when the first Kiwi flicked it towards net.

  5. And it is bound to continually improve. I was one of those parents that didn’t know jack about soccer until my son played. It turned me into one of the most passionate supporters of US Soccer on the planet !!! I check Ives several times a day to get my fix. It is bound to happen to other parents that have children that play and a lot the children themselves will become huge supporters.

  6. If any of our players pick it up, it will hopefully be drilled out of them. I want neither the Italians’ cynical manipulation of the rules, nor your “ends justifies the means” attitude to infect my soccer.


  7. You had three African nations pegged to advance? Wow. You didn’t just drink the kool-ade, you bathed in it. Outstanding individual talents will not compensate for lack of discipline and focus.

  8. Nah man! It just infuriates me some people start with their “I am holier than thou” and “I would never do that” attitudes followed by moronic comments. Think about how ingrained the Italian culture is in American everyday life, or for that matter, every major immigrant nationality.

    The worst part is that as time goes on and our players apply their trades in the bigger leagues they will start to pick up those same traits we many complain so loudly in this forum. It is just a matter of time.

    That’s all. Cheers

  9. But even with the Edu goal disallowed, it is clear that Donovan has mastered the jabulani, his crosses ad corners have been superb.

  10. Kaka’s touch is definitely off, but I also saw others miss several great balls from him.

    And oh yeah Kaka assisted on both legit goals.

    Baptista and Nilmat are both fine players but they’re not better than a half-strength Kaka.

  11. Most US parents spending money on their kids don’t really know the sport or feel the passion.

    Just for their kids, which is fine, but not the same as in other nations. US is still decades away from being a soccer/football nation.

    But hey if you think it’s bad now, rewind the clock a fed decades and it was like the US was on another planet.

  12. Yeah, Sacha would have gotten 2 assists in that game easily.

    Or maybe….not.

    Kaka’s not back to top form clearly, but please, Sacha and Kaka, aside from the alliteration, have nothing in common.

  13. There was a certain deja vu quality for me – while still feeling bad for Kaka, who is clearly not in top form, but still managed 2 assists on legit goals.

    Anyone else remembering Rivaldo’s theatrics getting a player red carded several Cups ago? He got a suspension himself for that in the next game if I recall correctly. (Ball on a corner was thrown at Rivaldo, hit him in the shin – and he went down holding his face. See the Ivory Coast players have learnt some tricks of their Brazilian rivals.)

    What goes around comes around.

  14. The most shameful part, in my opinion, is that the ref didn’t even see the incident. He allowed himself to be influenced by the Ivorian players into giving Kaka the card. For that alone he should never be allowed to ref another match.

  15. I was a peace corps volunteer in PY from 06-08, I went to see Paraguay play Ecuador and Brazil. I think if their defense holds up they could go far. The offense is just starting to gel and I think they will get better as they go. I liked seeing Valdez, Roque, and Paraguasho Barrios together. I hate how the announcers pronounce “Caceres”, his nickname is “Ganso” by the way, which means Goose. The coach’s nickname is “tata” which means “fire” in Guarani, but I’m not sure if that is how he got his name…

  16. Good point, I’m sure the “de Jong” type tackles really hurt, but it seems most times the player gets a light tap on his shin and goes down holding his face or some other body part that wasn’t affected. I just don’t like the obvious gamesmanship exaggeration…

  17. Those cheating bastards are laughing at you while admiring their World Cups trophies right now.

    Actually, you can take a page from the morons who were boycotting French fries for freedom fries a while back and stop eating pasta, pizza, or lusting Italian cars.



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