World Champions Italy began South Africa 2010 slowly, as they tend to do in the big competitions. While a draw in their first game wasn’t the worst possible result, Marcelo Lippi’s men will be looking to win their remaining two games to stamp their authority on the competition. New Zealand were a team that many people thought had arrived in South Africa just to make up the numbers. But against Slovakia, they showed they could get the result on the big stage. This game has a one-sided feel to it, but at this World Cup, the so called smaller teams have shown that anything is possible.
Italy vs New Zealand Odds:
New Zealand (+1625)
Lacking creative maestro, Angelo Pirlo through injury, Italy looked a stifled and frustrated ghost of the talented team who took him the 2006 World Cup trophy. Simone Pepe was the bright spark for the Azzurri. The Juventus winger showed excellent ball control and quick feet on a number of occasions and gave the tight Paraguayan constant problems from his wide position. An injury to legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is a concern for the World Champions. Buffon’s tournament could be over after picking up a herniated disc injury. Cagliari goalkeeper Federico Marchetti will deputise until Buffon is fit to return.
Central midfielders Danielle De Rossi and Riccardo Montolivo were superb in the game against Paraguay, keeping possession well and preventing scoring chances by protecting their backline with vicious authority. Against the weaker teams, the midfield pair will look to drive forward more from midfield and they are likely to be far too powerful for New Zealand’s midfielders to stop.
In spite of some good Italian performances in the first game, Paraguay proved that with the right delivery from set pieces this Italian defense is vulnerable. Cheillini and Cannavaro seemed surprisingly slow to react to tricky movement in the penalty area. If New Zealand are to pull off the shock of the tournament so far and get a result against Italy, set-pieces will be crucial.
Arriving in South Africa already in celebratory mood after unexpectedly qualifying for the World Cup, New Zealand pulled off a fantastic result in their first game against Slovakia. Their commitment and energy levels were the key factor in driving the team forward for their last-minute equalizer which must have felt like a winning goal for the New Zealand fans.
The player that scored the winning goal, Winston Reid, was their outstanding player on the day. The tall defender seemed to be in the right position almost every time Slovakia were close to scoring. His performance was the paramount reason that New Zealand stayed in the game for so long, allowing him to cap a wonderful display by heading in the equalizing goal. The worry for All Whites going into the game against Italy is that goalkeeper Mark Paston looked shaky almost any time he was called into action. He seemed to struggle to get distance when parrying shots away, and against stronger opposition those sorts of errors will be punished severely. Italian forwards, Vincenzo Iaquinti and Alberto Gilardino will ensure that Paston has to be at his absolute best in this one if New Zealand are to have any hope at all.
There have been many shocks so far in this tournament, but even the bravest analyst cannot predict that New Zealand will get anything from this game. The Italians have strong players across the field and even if a few of their star men are struggling for form, their replacements in the Italian squad are highly capable of causing New Zealand’s defense many problems. The key man in the game is likely to be Simone Pepe on the wing. After his superb performance against Paraguay, the Italians will be getting the ball to him as often and as quickly as possible and if New Zealand aren’t careful, they could find themselves on the wrong end of a heavy defeat in this encounter.
Italy vs New Zealand Prediction: Italy 3-0 New Zealand.
Did you know you can Bet World Cup 2010 Online?