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Nic Ladds 8th Jan 2010 - 10:03

World Cup 2010: Group F

It's the defending champions Italy who will be expected to dominate Group F as the Azzurri head for a record equaling 5th World Cup title, but watch out for Slovakia to finish ahead of Paraguay.

Italy New Zealand Paraguay Slovakia
FIFA Ranking 4 82 29 33
Appearances (Last) 16 (2006) 1 (1982) 7 (2006) 8 (1990)
Best result Won (34,38,82,06) Group stage (82)
Last 16
Runner-up (34, 62)
-v- Italy - P1 W0 D0
P2 W0 D0
P27 W8 D9
-v- New Zealand
P1 W1 D0
- P1 W1 D0 P0 W0 L0
-v- Paraguay P2 W2 D0
P1 W0 D0 - P0 D0 L0
-v- Slovakia P27 W10 D9 P0 W0 L0 P0 W0 D0 -
Coach Marcello Lippi
Ricki Herbert
Gerardo Martino
Vladimir Weiss
Star man Fabio Cannavaro
Ryan Nelsen
Roque Santa Cruz
Marek Hamsik
To win Group B
4/9 (1.44) 40/1 (41.00) 13/5 (3.60) 8/1 (9.00)
To lift the cup
12/1 (13.00)
1000/1 (1001.00)
50/1 (51.00)
250/1 (251.00)




Could the Azzurri be the first side to retain the Jules Rimet Trophy since 1962?

The manager who guided the blues to victory four years ago, Marcello Lippi, has returned with many of that World Cup winning selection still in the 2010 squad.

The Italians will take to the South African turf on June 14th for their opening clash against Paraguay with the familiar names of Andrea Pirlo, Fabio Cannavaro, Gennaro Gattuso and Mauro Camoranesi, and although there are doubts about the age of many of those players, their ability to cut it this time around can be backed up with the injection of some new blood, Liverpool's Alberto Aquilani for example.

With both experience and new blood, the Azzurri just may become the first side to retain the Jules Rimet Trophy since 1962 and are priced at 12/1 in the outright betting.



The dark horses of the group?

Making a some-what surprising debut in the World Cup 2010 will be the Slovak national team.

The Repre played some quality football in the qualifying stages and managed to finish - to the surprise of the country's fans - top of their group ahead of Slovenia, Northern Ireland and neighbors (and huge rivals) the Czech Republic.

Slovakia have Napoli's Marek Hamsik in their ranks and came through a far more difficult qualifying campaign than the likes of New Zealand.

The country's highest goalscorer of all time will be familiar to Middlesbrough fans as well.

Szilard Nemeth netted on 22 occasions out of 58 appearances for Slovakia but of the current team, Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel will be the most familiar, with Manchester City youngster Vladimir Weiss expected to be one of the side's future stars.

Both national and team spirit will be high, but getting past the group stage could be the big challenge for the debutants. The lack of experience at the top level could be the ‘little-big' country's biggest hindrance.

Slovakia are priced at 250/1 for an outright win.


New Zealand

Don't expect a haka... or a qualification.

Led by Blackburn captain Ryan Nelsen, New Zealand will be making only their second appearance at the World Cup finals after Spain 1982 when they lost to Brazil, the USSR and Scotland. Better known for their rugby team, for once the All Blacks will be overshadowed on the sporting pages by the All Whites.

The side managed a 1-0 victory against Bahrain over a two legged play-off to reach South Africa, with Plymouth's Rory Fallon scoring the only goals in front of a passionate Wellington crowd.

Not only are the All Whites not expected to perform the haka, but also not expected to progress from the 2010 group stages.

New Zealand are priced - rightly so - at 1000/1 for an outright win.



A danger to any opposition...

Now regarded as South America's third most powerful football nation after Brazil and Argentina, Paraguay are set to compete in their eighth World Cup and fourth in a row.
The likes of Roberto Acuña, José Luis Chilavert and Carlos Gamarra helped La Albirroja reach the second round in 1998 and 2002, but now the South American side will be desperate to make that next step up.

With likes of Manchester City's £18 million signing Roque Santa Cruz, and Borussia Dortmund's Nelson Haedo Valdez, Paraguay are expected to be a big presence on the 2010 stage.

Paraguay are priced at only 50/1 for the trophy lift.


Italy are the obvious favourites for the Group F victory and although most simply assume Paraguay will be joining the blues in the progression, Slovakia should be considered the dark horse of the group and a possible danger to Paraguay.

Group F calendar.
14 June - 20:30 | Italy v Paraguay | Cape Town Stadium |
15 June - 13:30 | New Zealand v Slovakia | Royal Bafokeng Stadium |
20 June - 13:30 | Slovakia v Paraguay | Free State Stadium |
20 June - 16:00 | Italy v New Zealand | Mbombela Stadium |
24 June - 16:00 | Slovakia v Italy | Ellis Park Stadium |
24 June - 16:00 | Paraguay v New Zealand | Peter Mokaba Stadium |

The Group F table toppers will meet the runners up of Group E in Pretoria, with the runners up meeting the Group E winners.


This website is not associated, affiliated or connected in any way with FIFA, the World Cup 2010 Local Organising Committee, or the South African Football Association.


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