Italy fears early World Cup exit
If a struggling Italy can't beat Slovakia on Thursday, the Azzurri could match France's unenviable feat from the 2002 World Cup and exit the group stage as defending champion.
Italy's forwards have had trouble finding the target in their opening two games, both 1-1 draws, against Paraguay and 78th-ranked New Zealand.
Midfielder Daniele De Rossi said "we're Italy and we ought to be able to win one of these three games _ otherwise it would only be fair to go home."
Italy can comfort itself with the memory that it also drew its opening two matches in 1982 and went on to win the World Cup.