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Italy Bumped From World Cup as Paraguay, Slovakia Advance


Football's reigning World Cup champion, Italy, has been defeated by Slovakia 3-2 and is eliminated from the tournament after the group stage.

Thursday's win in Johannesburg gave Slovakia four points in the opening round and propelled the team to a second-place finish in Group F.

Slovakia's striker Robert Vittek scored twice and Kamil Kopunek added a third goal in the 89th minute. The team was able to withstand a late run by Italy, including goals from Antonio Di Natale and Fabio Quagliarella, who scored in stoppage time.

Slovakia will play the winner of Group E in the first round of the elimination stage on Monday.

Both the 2006 World Cup champions, Italy, and that year's runner-up, France, have been eliminated in the first round of this year's tournament.

Paraguay's 0-0 draw with New Zealand in Polokwane was enough to give the team first-place in Group F and a trip to the Round of 16. Paraguay finished group play with five points and will advance for just the fourth time in its history. New Zealand finished with three points - ahead of Italy but still not enough to enter the knockout round of the competition.

Paraguay will play the runners-up of Group E on Tuesday.

In two Group E matches still in progress Thursday, the Netherlands is playing last-place Cameroon in a match that will have no effect on the standings. Japan is playing Denmark in Rustenburg, with the winner joining the Dutch in the elimination round.

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