Both of the finalists in the 2006 World Cup, Winners Italy and France have crashed out of the 2010 finals ignominiously finishing bottom of their respective groups.
France who’s campaign has been marred by players who rather than pulling together conspired to undermine the coach Raymond Domenech. Their 2-1 defeat to South Africa ensured that they finished bottom of the group and will ensure Domenech’s reign is not remembered for his achievement in 2006 but rather for the miserable failures 2010 and of Euro 2008 where they also finished bottom of their group.
Italy by contrast didn’t play all that badly but Marcelo Lippi is guilty of botching his tactics against Paraguay and of taking the surprise team of the tournament New Zealand far too lightly. Their final game against Slovakia was probably the match of the competition so far and but for a mistake by the linesman who chalked off a good goal Italy would have qualified. They were also unlucky with an attempt which was cleared off the line and on the balance of play didn’t deserve to lose. Lippi unlike Domenech will retire with his reputation somewhat intact.
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- Italian team prove critics right, crash out of ‘easy’ group (g.sports.yahoo.com)