Day 10 World Cup action round-up – South Americans hog the limelight but New Zealand steal the show

Day 10 of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa saw South American sides continue their domination of the tournament so far as both Paraguay and Brazil recorded comfortable victories which should see them through to the last 16. Reigning champions Italy looked far from comfortable against underdogs New Zealand who for the second game running defied the odds to record a memorable draw.

SLOVAKIA 0

PARAGUAY 2
Vera 27, Riveros 86

Paraguay produced an accomplished display to defeat Slovakia 2-0 and move to the top of Group F.

La Albirroja signalled their attacking intent from the off, while Slovakia in contrast looked cautious in the opening minutes.

Not surprisingly, Paraguay took the lead after 37 minutes when the lively Lucas Barrios picked out Enrique Vera who had made an intelligent burst into the penalty area before curling a strike past goalkeeper Jan Mucha with the outside of his right foot to give the South Americans a deserved lead.

As Slovakia pursued an equaliser late on, Paraguay’s nerves were eased significantly, when on 86 minutes Cristian Riveros blasted home from the edge of the area after a free kick had caused havoc in the box to wrap up the three points.

Robert Vittek almost produced a spectacular goal late on when firing just over from long range, but the game was already beyond Slovakia who must now beat Italy if they are to progress further than the group stages.

ITALY 1
Iaquinta 29 (pen)

NEW ZEALAND 1
Smeltz 7

New Zealand produced a performance beyond their wildest dreams to hold reigning world champions Italy to a 1-1 draw and secure the best result in the country’s history.

Although Italy clearly looked a class above on paper, they struggled to break down a spirited New Zealand side who had clearly grown in confidence after their draw with Slovakia.

The All Whites got off to a dream start when Simon Elliott whipped a dangerous free kick into the Italian penalty area and after Fabio Cannavaro failed to clear, striker Shane Smeltz pounced to slot home from six yards.

An equaliser came soon after for Azzurri, when Tommy Smith was judged to have pulled back Daniel De Rossi in the penalty area and Vincenzo Iaquinta fired home from the spot to level for Italy, who looked likely to go on and win the game at a canter.

That certainly did not happen as New Zealand continued to defence resolutely. Italy went close to a winner on a number of occasions in the second half but New Zealand goalkeeper Mark Paston was in fine form and they held out for an historic draw over the reigning champions.

BRAZIL 3
Fabiano 25, 50, Elano 62, Kaka sent off 88

IVORY COAST 1
Drogba 79

A Luis Fabiano brace inspired Brazil to an impressive 3-1 victory over the Ivory Coast, booking their place in the last 16.

Fabiano put Brazil ahead after 25 minutes in emphatic style. Having combined with Kaka to break in behind the defence, Fabiano blasted into the roof of the net from a tight angle to open his account for the tournament and give his side the lead.

Brazil looked threatening on the break as Ivory Coast chased an equaliser and five minutes into the second half Fabiano doubled his tally, beating three defenders with some clever play before firing a half volley past goalkeeper Boubacar Barry.

The win was all but sealed on 62 minutes when Kaka’s cross from the left hand side was met by Elano who slots home to put the game beyond the Elephants.

Ivory Coast did pull a goal back through star man Didier Drogba when he rose unmarked to give the African side a glimmer of hope.

The game would end on a sour note for Brazil when Kaka, who had already been cautioned for an altercation with Yaya Toure, was dismissed for an off the ball incident with Kader Keita.

The red card had little effect on the closing stages as the samba kings ran out comfortable victors and look to have all the qualities needed to win a World Cup.

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