World Cup Heroes in 2006, World cup zeros in 2010.
Four years ago, it was the Italians dancing on the field as they won the World Cup but this time around, they watched as Slovakia jumped and jived their way to shocking 3-2 win, eliminating Italy from the tournament.
Slovakian stud Robert Vittek led by example collecting two goals at the 25’ and 73’ minute marks to help his country make it’s first appearance in the round of 16.
In a tournament that has lacked goal scoring, fans were treated to four goals in the last 20 minutes of the game.
After Vittek scored his second, Italy’s Antonio Di Natale responded with getting an easy tap-in to make the game 2-1 in the 81’.
Eight minutes later Kamil Kopunek, who had just subbed on, used a great burst of speed to beat two Italian defenders and then flipped it over Federico Marchetti to put his team up 3-1.
But Italy would not go quietly as three minutes later; Fabio Quagliarella chipped a ball just under the post to make it 3-2.
The Slovaks did everything they could to get time to expire and that included laying on the field a half dozen times in the waning moments of the game.
With seconds left in the game, Simon Pepe had a great chance to put a ball in but he misfired it and shot wide.
Italy hasn’t been eliminated in the first round since 1974 and will have to watch the rest of the tournament in the comfort of there own homes.
Meanwhile for Slovakia, because New Zealand and Paraguay tied, they will move on to the next round in their very first World Cup appearance.
If Vittek can continue to produce and their defence maintains its steady effort, the Slovaks can continue to shock as they advance through the tournament.