Last Updated: 24/06/10 5:10pm
Thanks for joining me today in what has been the game of the tournament so far. The champions are out, they went down fighting, but it should never have happened this early on. The inquest now begins. Quagliarella is in tears, Cannavaro is crestfallen, Slovakia are in disbelief. they're through to the last 16. Italy have finished bottom, below New Zealand. Enjoy the rest of your evening, goodnight!
We're in the seventh minute of injury time. Mucha boots the ball out and.....THATS IT! Slovakia are through!! The champions are out!
Pepe hits it wide!! He gets on the end of the flick on at the far post but he can't divert his right foot shot on target and is goes wide. Agonising. More Slovakian players are dropping like flies.
Stoch is down holding his face as Chiellini prepares to launch a throw into the box. Italy are furious.
Mucha wins a free kick for his side and boots it as far as possible. All or nothing, last chance saloon, any other cliche you can think of comes into effect now.
Goal of the match. Quagliarella, who's been brilliant since he came on scores with an absolutely wonderful chip over Mucha. Surely...surely they cant do it....?
Italy look a beaten side as they try to attack. Pirlo keeps things ticking over but Slovakia are just booting the ball anywhere now.
Kopunek latches on to a simple throw that goes right through Italy's defence to chip over Marchetti with his first touch of the game! Stunning finish here. Absolutely stunning.
Pepe puts in a cross looking for Iaquinta who clashes with Mucha. He gets a hand to it to just divert it past Di Natale's foot.
This is an epic finish. Suddenly Italy's front three are alive and kicking. Di Natale loses the ball and concedes a goal kick to Slovakia.
QUAGLIARELLA SCORES BUT HE'S OFFSIDE!! The Napoli striker turns it in for Italy from Di Natale's cross but he is just...by the smallest of margins, offside. Spot on decision.
It's going to be a barnstorming finish to this one. Have we written them off too soon? Italy are applying some pressure at last as Di Natale crosses but Durica clears.
Quagliarella tries to get the ball back and is poked in the eye as he goes down theatrically. There's all sorts of bother going on. Webb books Mucha and Quagliarella for their bustling. It's all fired up now!
All sorts of commotion as Quagliarella goes on a great run to to combine with Iaquinta. Quagliarella shoots but Mucha saves and Di Natale bundles in the rebound.
It's quite unbelievable that this is the same Slovakia side that were well beaten by Paraguay. They've been excellent. Either that or Italy have been terrible.
Pepe lashes out with a kick at Stoch but he is just booked. Clearly the Italians are boiling over with frustration.
It's that man again Vittek. He's caused all sorts of problems and he gets on the end of Hamsik's low cross to beat Chiellini and fire past Marchetti. Game over surely.
Stoch slips in Hamsik who is about to let fly but Chiellini, who has had a really good second half, is there to clear for a corner.
It's end to end now as both sides look tired but Italy are still lacking that spark they desperately need.
Vittek wins another header as Slovakia break but Chiellini is there again to intercept Hamsik's slide rule pass.
Stoch opens up the defence again and hits a shot from the edge of the area but it drifts wide of the post.
Quagliarella gets on the end of Pepe's cross that Mucha misses. His shot is going in but Skrtel does brilliantly to clear off the line. It's not clear whether it crossed the line. But that is easily the closest Italy have come.
Stoch gets away from the last man but Maggio does well to get back and stop the winger from getting a free run on goal.
Jendrosik chases the ball down to win a corner for Slovakia. Who still have more enterprise in attack than their opponents. Kucka gets on the end of it but can't direct it anywhere near goal.
Di Natale gets a shot in from the edge of the box as he looks for the corner but Mucha gathers easily. Not a bad effort. Kucka then gets straight forward and hits a shot well wide.
More sloppy passing as Quagliarella just hooks the ball over his shoulder but Zambrotta is nowhere near it.
Vittek, Hamsik and Jendrisek combine but can't make anything of the attack. De Rossi completely loses the ball again for Italy. He's having a poor game.
Quagliarella gets a cross in but Mucha gathers easily. Pirlo immediately is having an influence as the Italians look to get the ball to the playmaker.
Pirlo gets his first touch but completely miscontrols it and the ball goes out for a Slovakia throw.
It's literally the last throw of the dice by Lippi. Pirlo is on for Montolivo as they try and find the creative spark to find the goal. Lets hope he can stay the pace.
Great chance for Di Natale. He's played in by Maggio and runs into the right hand side of the penalty area but completely fluffs the shot wide.
Vittek tries to release Hamsik down the left hand side but Chiellini sweeps up to give the ball back to Marchetti.
Mucha goes down after clashing with Quagliarella who was trying to get him to get a move on. The keeper goes down in ridiculous fashion holding his leg but Webb sensibly tells him to get on with it.
Pepe floats in a good cross for Iaquinta to head. He tries to flick it with his head but it bounces well wide.
No real increase to the pace of the game but Italy try and attack, only for Quagliarella to lose the ball.
Cannavaro plays a lazy ball to Chiellini as he scrambles it away. Iaquinta then fouls Skrtel who goes in bravely to clear the long ball.
Italy have a front three now. All links with Udinese, who, with all due respect, surely aren't the most famous of clubs for manufacturing wonderful Italian players...
Two subs are on for Italy. Quagliarella is on for Gattuso and Maggio is on for Criscito at full back. Lets see what they can do as the second half gets underway.
Lippi needs to deliver a team talk better than the one he probably did in the 2006 World Cup final if his team are going to get through. They look like strangers and need to at least show some incision in attack. If not, it's going to be a dour exit for the holders.
Montolivo gets a chance to shoot from Zambrotta's cross but he slips on the half volley and it goes wide as Howard Webb blows his whistle for half time.
Durica hits it instead but it goes straight into the wall. Kucka then hits a stunning volley after great hold up play by Vittek which just hits the side netting. Great effort.
Vittek wins a soft free kick after being pushed over by Chiellini. Hamsik will like the look of this.
Strba is down in serious pain after a challenge from Gattuso. He has a horrible cut on his knee. It wasn't a bad challenge by the Italian as he won the ball but he connected with his stud in the follow up.
The half is petering out into nothing at the moment. Nothijng is really happening and Italy need a kick up the backside if they are to stay in the tournament.
Skrtel nearly the heads the ball straight into his own net! The Liverpool defender gets his head on the end of an Italy cross but send the ball the wrong way and just over the bar. Shame to say that that's the closest Italy have come
Cannavaro goes down theatrically under the challenge of Vittek and the striker is booked. They are having a right old tussle.
Chiellini and De Rossi try to get the team going but there is no movement in front of them and the Roma midfielder just ends up punting the ball hopelessly out of play.
Chiellini floats up a ball towards Iaquinta but he is so slow to react that Durica can clear easily.
Italy lose the ball and they're all over the shop again as Hamsik breaks, he can't find Vittek however and Italy clear.
Strba hits a rocket of a shot from 25 plus yards which Marchetti does very well to turn around the post.
Cannavaro fouls Hamsik and he is lucky not to be sent off. He's already on a yellow card. They could really do without losing him.
By all accounts Iaquinta and Di Natale used to play together at Udinese. Must have been a long time ago, because they don't seem to have a clue who the other is.
Cannavaro fluffs his header out and Vittek is alive to it. Kucka tries a shot from distance but it's charged down.
Shots of Andrea Pirlo and Buffon sat on the bench looking very worried. How they need Pirlo now. Whether he is fit enough nobody really knows.
Di Natale goes down too easily and puts his hands on the ball assuming a free kick. Webb thinks otherwise however and awards the free kick the other way.
This is appalling from the holders. Utterly devoid of creation and ideas. They desperately need a new Totti, Del Piero or a Baggio to come through to make something out of nothing, even if they do make it through in the end.
Italy are in huge trouble. De Rossi plays a woeful pass that is pounced on by Jendrosik. He slips in Vittek who gets on to the edge of the box to slide the ball into the corner. It's been deserved.
Skrtel goes on a barnstoming run through the centre for Slovakia playing a one-two but he just can't control. Very unusual by the Liverpool defender.
Stoch manages to win the ball but can't stop it from going out of play as the game goes into something of a lull.
Pepe puts in a dinked pass looking for Iaquinta but it's too close to Mucha who gathers. Iaquinta then embarks on a foot race with Durica as Italy attack but the Slovakian gets there first to clear.
Strba gets the first yellow card of the afternoon for a foul on Gattuso. He'll miss the second round game should Slovakia make it.
Slovakia have certainly been the better side so far. Italy, as usual, have made a very flat start to this game.
Hamsik gets in a good position running on to a great long pass. He gets a low cross in towards Vittek but Marchetti is able to gather.
Jendrosik tries to win a header in a challenge with Chiellini, but his fall is comical as he flips in the air and lands on his face. That probably hurt more than the challenge. To make matters worse Webb gives nothing.
Stoch swings in the cross but Marchetti gets a fair punch on it. Zabavnik hits the rebound on the half volley but the ball goes well over.
Kucka, goes flying in for a challenge on Chiellini as the ball got away from him and gives away a foul.
Iaquinta wins a flick on for Italy but Di Natale is nowhere near him. Slovakia are not looking overawed by this, they're playing the better football at this early stage.
Vittek tries to break forward for Slovakia but Gattuso eats up the ground and makes him lose the ball.
Chance for Hamsik. Awful defending from Italy as Vittek flicks the ball on for the skipper to hit on the volley. He fluffs his lines however and hits it wide. That could have been a great start for the underdogs.
Pekarik puts in a teasing cross thats going straight at Marchetti but rather than catch the Cagliari keeper decides to punch away.
Di Natale and Iaquinta combine for the Juventus striker to shoot. He is flagged offside however despite his awfully scuffed effort.
Straight from the off Di Natale tries a shot on the half volley from around 30 yards over the bar. Positive start.
The teams are out and the anthems are being sung. Lets hope it's an entertaining game and the Italians come out of their shells a bit.
Just seen pictures of Daniele De Rossi for today's game, he appears to not be 'backing the beard' so much any more. It was probably for the best, he was looking a lot like Alan from the film 'The Hangover' lately.
It should also be intriguing to see whether Slovakia captain Marek Hamsik, who has not lived up to expectation thus far, will be out to eliminate the nation where he plies his trade. Sky Bet give odds of 14/1 on the Napoli playmaker to score in the game and his side to win.
Italy are 8/15 to come out on top, whereas Slovakia are a long shot at 6/1. A draw is 11/4 all according to Sky Bet.
So as expected Lippi makes two changes to the side, bringing in the bite of Gennaro Gattuso in place of the light Claudio Marchisio, as well as Antonio Di Natale up front instead of Alberto Gilardino. Di Natale has looked lively in his appearances so far, could he make the difference today?
Slovakia: Mucha, Pekarik, Skrtel, Durica, Zabavnik, Hamsik, Strba, Kucka, Stoch, Vittek, Jendrisek. Subs: Pernis, Cech,Weiss, Kozak, Sestak, Sapara, Holosko, Jakubko, Kopunek, Salata, Petras, Kuciak.
Italy: Marchetti, Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Criscito, Gattuso, De Rossi, Montolivo, Pepe, Iaquinta, Di Natale. Subs: Buffon, Maggio, Gilardino, Bocchetti, Marchisio, Camoranesi, Palombo, Quagliarella, Pazzini, Pirlo, Bonucci, De Sanctis.
Howard Webb is in charge for this one today, let's hope he doesn't have a repeat of Graham Poll's antics at this stage of the last World Cup. We all know what happened there...
Not only would it be a catastrophic result for the holders, it would also spell a disappointing end to the careers of some of their heroic figures of the previous tournament, with the likes of captain Fabio Cannavaro, Gernnaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo and manager Marcello Lippi certain not to be around in time for the 2014 tournament. It's an intriguing encounter this one, and the Italians are going to have to show that famous dogged attitude if they are going to progress.
Hello and welcome to today's commentary. The world champions are teetering on the brink of oblivion heading into this one. With no win in the tournament so far, Italy must win to ensure progression or suffer an embarrassing exit at the hand of minnows New Zealand or, should they be beaten by their today's opponents, Slovakia.