In a stunning development, Slovakia beat Italy (3 to 2) to deny the defending champ the opportunity to advance to the second round. Italy now joins France on the sidelines of the World Cup. This is historical. This is the first time that both finalists from the previous tournament have been eliminated from the first round.
The four-time champion Italians lost to Slovakia 3-2 at Ellis Park, allowing the Slovaks to advance to the round of 16 from Group F along with Paraguay, which drew 0-0 with New Zealand. Players were devastated. Tears splashed down their cheeks. The French are also in total disarray after presenting their poorest performance ever in a world cup. They lost 2 to 0 against Mexico and they lost 2 to 1 against South Africa.
Jozy Altidore: the Haitian pride
In other development, US striker, Jozy Altidore (seeing here in the picture), has urged soccer’s governing body to use NFL- and NBA-style instant replays as a solution to the ongoing controversy surrounding World Cup referees.
Altidore, who is Haitian-American and who grew up in Deerfield Beach, Florida, says the Americans have been on the receiving end of unfair treatment from officials en route to Saturday’s round-of-16 showdown with Ghana. And he went on to say that “With the officials, things are getting missed a lot — especially with our team. Seeing how tight it is to make these decisions, it would be nice if we had it like basketball where it could be watched on video.”
Altidore, who has become an instant celebrity along with forward Donovan, is the pride of all Haitians. He, perhaps, may be the only consolation for soccer crazy Haiti. But Altidore seems depressed when questioned how he feels about the third goal against Slovenia—a goal denied by the referee. “Honestly, some of those things really affect the impact of the game. It would be nice to throw a red flag out there and they can check it out and see if it was right.”
The world was stunned when the referee disallowed the third goal, which would have made it easier for The United States to advance. The winning goal would have been engineered by midfielder Maurice Edu. The game ended in a draw 2-2. The United States still advances to the second round after defeating Algeria 1-0 in a long treacherous match that kept US fans to their toes for more than 90 minutes.