“A crushing defeat for Italy, but a deserved win for Slovakia, who had a more cohesive side and a clearer gameplan.
Marcello Lippi started with three central midfielders (Rino Gattuso was recalled) and one winger, in Simone Pepe. He generally played on the right, although switched to the left later in the first half. Gattuso seemed to occupy whichever side of midfield Pepe was not on. Antonio di Natale played off Vincenzo Iaquinta.” (Zonal Marking)
Japan 3-1 Denmark: two free-kicks settle the game
“A straight play-off for the knockout rounds, with the draw favouring Japan. They didn’t need that safety net, and won the game convincingly. Denmark made two changes. The ineffectual Jesper Gronkjaer was replaced with Thomas Kahlenburg, whilst Simon Kjaer’s suspension meant a rare start for Per Kroldrup. Japan were unchanged.” (Zonal Marking)