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The Cup Running Over


June 24, 2010 7:16 AM

Group F in Review: The Defending Champions Go Home

WINNER: PARAGUAY (5 points)

RUNNER UP: SLOVAKIA (4 points)

TURNING POINT: Italian defender Daniele De Rossi's error led to the first Slovakian goal in the last match, which pushed the Italians downhill.

BEST MATCH: Slovakia-Italy -- the battle for second place on the last day. As wide-open in the second half as any game in the tournament.

WORST MATCH: Paraguay-Italy, 1-1, in the rain. It looked like it was played in slow motion. Except even slower.

PLAYER OF THE GROUP: Slovakia scored four goals. Striker Robert Vittek had three of them. An honorable mention goes to New Zealand keeper Mark Paston who was outstanding in net -- much like the whole team. The Kiwis may have overachieved more than any team in World Cup history by going 0-0-3 in the group.

BIGGEST NO-SHOW: The Italian defense. Five goals in three games -- which is more than twice what they allowed in all of World Cup 2006.

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