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Defending champion Italy eliminated from World Cup

June 25, 2010

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Slovakia 3, Italy 2

Defending champion Italy was eliminated Thursday from the World Cup with a humbling loss to Slovakia, which advanced.

Slovakia finished second in Group F to Paraguay. The Italians were last, the first time they’ve ever finished at the bottom of an opening-round group.

Paraguay 0, New Zealand 0

Polokwane, South Africa — Paraguay was held to an uneventful 0-0 draw by New Zealand, but still won its World Cup group and moved into the round of 16.

The Paraguayans, who also reached the second round at the World Cup in 1986, 1998 and 2002, continued South America’s dominance of the tournament. The continent’s teams have 10 wins, no losses and three draws at the World Cup.

Netherlands 2, Cameroon 1

Cape Town, South Africa — The Netherlands produced its first goals of flair and finesse to beat Cameroon and set up a second-round match with Slovakia.

Robin Van Persie finished off an end-to-end move in the 36th minute, and substitute Arjen Robben sent a shot against the post in the 83rd that Klaas Jan Huntelaar only had to slide in for the winner.

Japan 3, Denmark 1

Rustenburg, South Africa — Spectacular first-half goals by Keisuke Honda and Yusuhito Endo helped lift Japan, sending the Japanese into the round of 16 at the World Cup.

The Danes, who replied in the 81st when Jon Dahl Tomasson tapped in the rebound from his own penalty kick, failed to advance from the group stage for the first time in four World Cup appearances.

Shinji Okazaki scored an insurance goal in the 87th minute for the Japanese.

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