First it was France and now Italy, the two finalists from 2006 FIFA World Cup are now out of the 2010 tournament! Most other big teams with bigger names are struggling as well.
France started its campaign on a really low performance and kept going downhill from there on. The 2006 finalists had barely qualified for FIFA World Cup 2010, thanks to a Thierry Henry’s controversial handball. But French might now be wondering if qualifying was a good thing at all. They scored just one goal in three qualifying matches and lost 2 matches, ending up at the bottom of the table.
The other finalist, the winners from 2006 World Cup, Italy fared no better than France. Famed with an incredible defense comprising of world best Fabio Cannavaro and Zambrotta, and with midfielders like Gattusso and Andre Pierlo, nothing looked like unachievable for the team. Yet, in all three qualifying matches, Italy was down and out. Tame draw in the first two matches saw them facing minnows Slovakia in the third match. Even a draw would have let Italy make it through to the round of 16, but they did the unexpected and lost to Slovakia by 2-3.
It’s the first time in the history of football world cup that both finalists of past world cup have not been able to go through to the next round.
Apart from France and Italy, other big countries have been equally disappointing as well. England and Germany barely scraped through to the round of 16. Spain’s future still hangs in balance and will depend on how they play against Chile on 25th June. A loss will see Spain bowing out of the tournament as well. The only teams that has shown some authority so far are Argentina and Netherlands, followed by Brazil and Portugal.
The round of 16 has now got some very interesting groups made. Germany meets England on 27th June and it’d be terrible to see one of them go out as early as this.