Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Glimpse at Italy & World Cup Sunday Notes & Videos

New Zealand's goalkeeper Mark Paston (C) blocks the ball as New Zealand's Chris Wood, New Zealand's Ryan Nelsen, Italy's Giorgio Chiellini and Italy's Fabio Cannavaro watch during their 2010 World Cup Group F soccer match at Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit June 20, 2010.  REUTERS/David Gray (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

Well, it was not a good day for the defending World Cup champions, Italy, as their Sunday match with New Zealand ended in a 1-1 draw. New Zealand got an early goal when Fabio Cannavaro failed to properly play a free kick from Simon Elliot thereby giving Shane Smelt a great scoring opportunity, which Smelt didn't waste. Italy's only goal was off a penalty kick after Daniele De Rossi's shirt was tugged in the penalty box. Granted the penalty kick was without controversy since many viewers believe De Rossi dove so that Tommy Smith would pick up a yellow card.

On Thursday Italy faces Slovakia, which has proven to be the weaker side in Group F to date. Slovakia picked up a point thanks to its draw with New Zealand on Monday, but lost to Paraguay. Despite only having 2 points, like the US, Italy can advance with a win in their final group stage match. New Zealand, also with 2 points, has a shot at advancing out of the group stage for the first time ever if it beats Paraguay on Thursday.

Coming into this World Cup finals, I did not expect Italy to successfully defend The Cup, in fact I didn't expect them to get into the quarter or semi-finals, but I did expect them to advance past the group stage, which they will do with a win over Slovakia.

France, the team that Italy beat in the 2006 final of the World Cup finals, continues to be a mess. On Saturday, word came out that the French National Team was taking a page from the US Women's National Team by punishing Nicolas Anelka for disagreeing with the team's coach. On Saturday, news came out that Anelka was being sent home after insulting French coach Raymond Domenech and refusing to apologize. It's not completely clear what exactly Anelka said to Domenech, the Telegraph claims it was "go screw yourself, dirty son of a whore", while The Bleacher Report claims it was "F*ck off, dirty son of a b*tch." Either way, expelling Anelka did not fix the troubles at the French camp.

Today, Jean-Louis Valentin, the director of the French National Team, revealed that the team refused to train after an argument between the fitness coach, Robert Duverne, and team captain, Patrice Evra. In a statement to the press, the French players claimed they refused to train as a protest to the fact that Anelka was sent home. Meanwhile, Valentin also announced that he was quitting his job with the team and heading back to France.

Anelka and Valentin will most likely be joined in France by the rest of the team. France, which is in Group A, plays its last group stage match on Tuesday against host country South Africa. Both teams each only have one point and little shot at advancing to the group stage. If Mexico and Uruguay finish their match with a draw on Tuesday, then they automatically advance no matter the outcome of France-South Africa. Having wins in both matches doesn't necessarily mean the winner of the France-South Africa match will advance, it will boil down to goal differential, which Mexico and Uruguay control at the moment.

Now for some recent World Cup related video:

French Reporter Eric Bielderman tells ESPN's Bob Ley what Anelka said:

John Terry's Press Conference:

Patrice Evra Press Conference:

AP Report including Bob Bradley Presser:

Evra beats Steve Nash in hoops:

Steve Nash discusses US-Slovenia:

Finally, our own Erin Dutka made it onto the broadcast of US-Slovenia about 3 times Friday, here's one of those times:

Now for some fun - Rob "The Stoner" Stone takes on the hottest chile pepper:

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