Best of Day 14
We take a look at all the drama and key incidents on day 14 of the World Cup.
Last Updated: 24/06/10 11:13pm
Game of the Day: It wasn't a classic in terms of flowing football but the drama was there in bucketloads as reigning world champions Italy crashed out of the tournament after a 3-2 loss to Slovakia.
The defeat, which also saw the Azzurri finish below New Zealand, yes New Zealand, at the bottom of Group F, meant that opponents Slovakia reached the last 16 alongside group leaders Paraguay, and boy did they deserve it.
Despite being 2-0 and 3-1 up Slovakia could never breathe easily as a poor Italy side desperately piled forward late on in search of the draw that would see them qualify.
But it wasn't to be and this World Cup is really beginning to pick up pace as we approach the knockout stages.
Damp squib of the Day: For those of you that chose to watch the Paraguay v New Zealand game instead, you must be regretting it now!
Take nothing away from the Kiwis because they were superb at the back, but it really didn't make for much of a spectacle and there may have been a few sighs of relief at the television networks when it was confirmed Ricki Herbert's side would be going home. Still, well done those boys - three games and no defeats is a great achievement.
Goal of the Day: They may he heading home but Italy scored an absolute cracker courtesy of Fabio Quagliarella in their loss to Slovakia.
The Napoli forward picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and sent an audacious chip into the top corner of Jan Mucha's goal - arguably the goal of the tournament so far.
Howler of the Day: Thomas Sorensen was blinding in Denmark's last game against Cameroon but the Stoke goalkeeper looked just blind against Japan.
He misjudged the flight of Keisuke Honda's free-kick to gift the Asians an opener and you could argue his organisation of his wall was a bit off when Yasuhito Endo added a second.
There could have been no argument had Endo scored another just after half-time - his looping free-kick looked regulation for Sorensen but the former Aston Villa man dropped it and luckily saw the post 'spare his blushes'. Well, it was a bit too late for that.
Proof of the Day: The standard of shooting has been woeful at times in South Africa and that has often been blamed on the Jabulani ball, which is apparently too difficult to control.
Free-kicks have appeared particularly difficult to master but Japan proved yet again against Denmark that only a poor workman blames his tools. Okay, Sorensen could have done better, but the free-kicks scored by Honda and Endo were still extremely special and you can only hope a few more players will learn how to control the new ball in the later stages.
Near-miss of the Day: Jon Dahl Tomasson had been stuck on 51 international goals for 14 games but the veteran striker finally scored his record-equalling 52nd nine minutes from time.
But only just. Daniel Agger had been bundled over in the box by Makoto Hasebe but Tomasson's resulting spot-kick was poor and easily saved by Eiji Kawashima. Fortunately for him the ball rebounded straight back at his feet, yet he still managed to almost miss from four yards out as he scuffed the ball over the goalkeeper and into the side of the net. Not one he'll be telling the grandkids about.
Ominous win of the Day: Holland were hotly tipped for success in South Africa this summer but it's not unfair to say they haven't hit top form in Group E.
But that makes it all the more daunting that they go through to the last 16 with a maximum nine-point haul. The 2-1 win over Cameroon was another example of a professional rather than thrilling success but it was still thoroughly deserved and full of plenty of moments of quality.
Robin van Persie got his World Cup tally up and running and generally looked lively throughout, while Arjen Robben managed to make an impact within minutes of coming on as a substitute. The Dutch will take some beating at this rate.
Final thoughts of the Day: Talk of a boring tournament seems a long time ago now and today served up plenty more excitement. Both of the 2006 finalists are now out and the likes of Japan, Slovakia, Paraguay and the USA are through.
Holland are moving through the gears and there's more to come from Brazil, Argentina and Spain (if they go through of course) so we really should be in for an exciting couple of weeks. As for England, we could face Germany, Argentina and then Spain - easy!