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Group F comprises the reigning champions and their challenging competitors. Read on to know more on the teams involved and the schedule for the matches.

2010 FIFA World Cup Group F

The Italians, the Paraguayans, the Slovakians and New Zealand find themselves together in Group F of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Italians, the reigning champions will look to make powerful statements in every match they play and are expected to be the team most likely to finish off as group toppers. Paraguay and Slovakia will run a tough race to get to the second spot with New Zealand attempting to chip out a win or two. However, these are just assumptions that only hold true on paper, on the field, it’s always the team which plays better on the given day that wins. The Italians can boast of having praiseworthy legends at their disposal, but on the day of match, the possibility of being humbled by competition can never be ruled out.

The 2006 champions have established themselves as the favorites of this group and will definitely look to retain the Cup. This year’s tournament will see I Nazionale show up at the world stage for the 17th time. The team will look to ride high and hard on the performances of star players Alberto Gilardino, Fabio Cannavaro, Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso and celebrated keeper Gianluigi Buffon. Fabio Cannavaro, the Italian centre-back, is arguably one of the best centre-backs in the world and will be expected to play the role of the leading light in South Africa.

The Paraguayans come next in line. The team’s campaign to South Africa was blessed with ten dazzling wins, punctuated with three draws and diseased with five losses. This is the Paraguayans fourth successive appearance in a World Cup final. The ‘Italy Vs Paraguay’ clash is the most looked forward to match of this group. The Paraguayans met Italy last at a World Cup final in 1950. That meet saw Paraguay decay to a 2-0 loss against the Italians, a loss that will have them hunting for revenge in South Africa. The current team is blessed with outstanding talents in the form of goalkeeper Justo Villar, Nelson Valdez, Roque Santa Cruz and Salvador Cabanas.

The Italians and the Paraguayans in order to row past the group stages will have to face-off against a resolute Slovakia and a relatively inexperienced New Zealand. The Slovakians are definitely a force to reckon with, especially since they will be visiting South Africa riding high on a wave of confidence. This wave is the direct result of their statement making wins in the qualifying matches, wins that helped the Slovakians top their respective group. The team will hope to build on the contributions of their stars Robert Vittek and Marek Mintal.

New Zealand or the All Whites are believed to be the team least expected to make a mark for themselves at South Africa. The team enjoyed a comparatively easy run in the Oceania qualifying matches, but sticking together to register win after win at the 2010 World Cup may not be as easy as it sounds. However, the Kiwis when pushed to their limits can churn out the kind of performances that only they as a team can. This outburst of will and performance was recently revealed to the Italians when they almost lost to a resolute Kiwi camp.

Players to look out for in Group F include Gianluigi Buffon (ITA), Gennaro Gattuso (ITA), Robert Vitteck (SVK), Justo Villar (PAR), Ryan Nelsen (NZL), Fabio Cannavaro (ITA), Andrea Pirlo (ITA) and Salvador Cabanas (PAR).

2010 Football World Cup Group F Matches

The schedule for the Group F matches is given below.
Date
Match
Venue
June 14
Italy Vs Paraguay
Cape Town
June 15
New Zealand Vs Slovakia
Rustenburg
June 20
Slovakia Vs Paraguay
Mangaung/Bloemfontein
June 20
Italy Vs New Zealand
Nelspruit
June 24
Slovakia Vs Italy      
Johannesburg
June 24
Paraguay Vs New Zealand
Polokwane



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