Page 1

World Cup: Italy vs Slovakia

Needless to say, I think we all know the outcome of this game. Italy versus Slovakia on June 24th in a Group F match isn't exactly what you would call a must-watch match. The defending champions of the previous World cup, and former winners of the 1982, 1938, and 1934 World Cup will certainly be favored to win this game, and advance far into the tournament based on their group placement, which World Cup betting keeps a close eye on. That's not to say Slovakia is an awful team, or doesn't have a chance to make some noise. This will be the Slovaks 9th appearance at the World Cup, but first since 1990. They have some nice players representing their country, like attacking midfielder Marek Hamsik (club: Napoli), defender Martin Skrtel (Liverpool), and striker Stanislav Sestak (German club VfL Bochum). But none of these players have experienced a World Cup match, and the lack of "being there before" could hinder their chances of making a run past the group stage. So back to the Italians, with all kinds of experienced, talented, and proven players on the pitch, the Azzurri will definitely be the pacesetters of this match. Midfield veterans Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso (both at Italian club AC Milan), and forwards Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina) and Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus) will carry the load up front. The defense will be loaded, along with Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), who is considered one of the world's top keepers and always effects the World Cup betting with his skill. In fact, the only thing that will slow down the Italians this time around will be themselves. For some on the team, this will be their fourth appearance for their country. Players like Fabio Cannavaro have been battling on the national team since the '98 World Cup. Age will definitely play a factor for some of the more seasoned veterans, as father-time most assuredly always slows people down the older they get. The Azzurri will need the young legs of players like 23-year-old striker Giuseppi Rossi (club: Villarreal). But his story is quite an interesting one. He was born and raised in New Jersey, where his father coached soccer and taught Italian. he moved through the ranks of the world of football at Italian club Parma, then on to big English clubs Newcastle and Manchester United. In 2006, the United States invited

him to play for the national team, but he declined because he always wanted to play for Italy. Flash forward two years later, and Giuseppi is leading the Italian national team in scoring at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Another valid reason why the U.S. will never be able to compete for a World Cup title. oh, wait, that's another story for another day. Italy will take care of a modest Slavakian team by two goals. They should win the group with relative ease. The Italians should also come close to a title defense. But that hasn't been done since Brazil did it in the '58 and '62 World Cup. They had a player some may know by the name of Pele back then, helping to retain back-to-back titles. Which veteran of the Azzurri will step up and help the Italians to a second straight title? Who do you place your World Cup bet on? Get to where everybody bets.


The Azzurri will need the young legs of players like 23-year-old striker Giuseppi Rossi (club: Villarreal). But his story is quite an intere...