For Slovakia, reaching the World Cup for the first time was a major achievement. Making the second round at the expense of defending champion Italy? Unthinkable. At least, that is, until it happened Thursday.
A 3-2 victory over Italy in the Group F finale showed the perils of writing off Slovakia, which is in its first World Cup as an independent nation. Captain Robert Vittek scored twice to boost Slovakia into second place in the group.
He says "We came here as newcomers and outsiders, but we have already surprised once and we want to do it again." The next chance comes Monday in the round of 16.