World champions Italy can hardly have foreseen that they would be heading into their final group game unsure of a Round of 16 berth. That, however, is the situation currently facing La Nazionale, who lie second in Group F on the same points' total as New Zealand following Sunday's 1-1 draw with the All Whites. Paraguay occupy pole position thanks to their 2-0 success against Slovakia, but with just three points separating top from bottom, all four teams can still dream of going through. To do so, victory will be imperative on the final day of action, with only the current leaders certain of progressing with a draw.
According the Regulations of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, the ranking of each team in each group will be determined as follows:
a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
b) goal difference in all group matches;
c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.
If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings will be determined as follows:
d) greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
e) goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;
f) greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;
g) drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee.
– If Italy beat Slovakia they will qualify. If they draw, they will still qualify as long as New Zealand fail to defeat Paraguay. Their fate will come down to goals scored if New Zealand draw against Paraguay.
– If Slovakia beat Italy, they will be guaranteed progress providing New Zealand do not overcome Paraguay. If Slovakia and New Zealand both win, the European side will be tied with Paraguay on four points and goal difference will decide who goes through.