Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
New Zealand shows the way
by Paul Kennedy, June 20th, 2010 3:14PM
Subscribe to Special Edition

TAGS:  italy


[GROUP F] Who would have ever predicted that after the second weekend of play at the World Cup England, France, Italy and Spain would all be winless? Perhaps the most shocking result to date was New Zealand's well-deserved 1-1 tie with Italy. For what we liked and didn't like about Sunday's action in Group F ...

What we liked ...

-- It's hard to believe that New Zealand, which has opened with ties against Slovakia and Italy, is the same team that gave up four goals in less than a half hour against Spain at last year's Confederations Cup and lost, 5-0. The All Whites played with purpose and confidence against Italy, taking the lead on German-born Shane Smeltz's goal in the seventh minute. It was the only shot on goal New Zealand had all game, but striker Chris Wood almost snatched the winning goal late in the game when he beat Italian star Fabio Cannavaro and fired a shot inches wide of the goal.

-- On Sunday, Cannavaro was second-best among central defenders to Ryan Nelsen, the former Stanford and D.C. United star who was a tower of strength for New Zealand. "The rest of the team don't play against world-class players so they don't see that they make a lot of mistakes too and that they're very human," Nelsen said. "That's what I was trying to tell the boys. Most of our guys are better athletes and when you're a better athlete, you're stronger and faster and you can really do things."

-- In a tournament plagued by few chances and fewer goals, Paraguay has led by example with some clinical finishing. The Albirroja disposed of Slovakia, 2-0, on goals by Enrique Vera and Cristian Riveros. Paraguay needs only a tie against New Zealand to advance and will win the group with a win.

What we didn't like ...

-- What can you say about Italy? Perhaps it's not as bad as England or France but it is a shadow of the team that won the 2006 World Cup title. Before the New Zealand game, Coach Marcello Lippi slammed his forwards for their lack of initiative. Afterward, he refused to blame the attack but again bemoaned his team's lack of enterprise. Will midfielder Andrea Pirlo's return against Slovakia on Thursday change things? We'll see ...

-- It isn't just the Italy attack that's been a problem. Once again, the Azzurri fell behind early, allowing New Zealand to score a cheap goal. World Cup 2006 veterans Cannavaro, who failed to clear the ball that led to Smeltz's goal and was beaten by Wood, and Gianluca Zambrotta are showing their age.

-- After France, Slovakia is probably the worst European team at the World Cup. Coach Vladimir Weiss had no complaints after his team's 2-0 loss to Paraguay. “We made two mistakes and were punished for them," he said. "They were high quality opponents and their victory was deserved."

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Special Edition
What They're Saying    
"I'd like to think that we're closing the gap and hopefully one day we can do ...
Heroes of Genoa: USA downs Italy!     
[ITALY-USA] The USA celebrated its biggest win of the Jurgen Klinsmann era when it prevailed 1-0 ...
Morgan leads USA past Danes    
[ALGARVE CUP] Alex Morgan continued her hot streak, scoring in each half to lead the USA ...
MLS preseason this week ...    
[SCOREBOARD] Eleven MLS teams will be in action Wednesday in the four tournaments being played across ...
Qatar, Oman in, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain out    
[WORLD CUP 2014 QUALIFYING] Mohammed Kasola's goal in the 83rd minute gave Qatar a 2-2 tie ...
Reggae Boyz sweep three games in week    
[WORLD CUP 2014 COUNTDOWN] Jamaica, which will face the USA in the semifinal round of World ...
Reyna and Meola head Class of 2012    
[HALL OF FAME] Claudio Reyna and Tony Meola, eligible on the Player ballot for the first ...
Italy-USA Minute by Minute    
[INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY] A well-constructed goal by Clint Dempsey -- his 25th for the USA -- in ...
Ferdinand and Lampard not in Pearce's squad    
[ENGLAND] Interim coach Stuart Pearce's first squad includes newcomers Fraizer Campbell and Tom Cleverley, but veterans ...
Klinsmann sets roster for Italy clash    
[USA MEN] Coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called in a 21-man roster with 17 foreign-based and four ...
>> Special Edition Archives