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.
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- During the seven years of his presidency, the first team achieved two Champions Leagues, four league championships, a Copa del Rey, a Club World Cup, a European Super Cup, three Spanish Super Cups and three Spanish Cups.
- Karim Benzema, back in the Madrid squad after an injury layoff, scored in the 87th minute after Luis Suárez's early goal for Atlético at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
- Seven of India’s nine Tokyo Olympics-bound boxers won medals, some of them beating world class boxers. Manish Kaushik (63kg) was the star as he made an impressive return from injury–tear in the biceps required surgery in May—and won gold in his first event after the tough recovery phase.
- The Buenos Aires native will face countryman Francisco Cerundolo as he seeks his first ATP Tour title on home soil. Into his third final in Argentina, Schwartzman will aim to improve on previous runner-up finishes at Buenos Aires in 2019 and Cordoba in 2020.
- Genoa remained seven points above the relegation zone after its second loss in three matches. It had only lost one of the previous 10 since Davide Ballardini replaced Rolando Maran as coach.
- Ramos-Vinolas outlasted first-time ATP Tour quarter-finalist Sumit Nagal 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. The Spanish veteran broke serve four times from five opportunities to advance after two hours and 26 minutes. Ramos-Vinolas reached the Cordoba final last week.