Pre-game: Italy vs. New Zealand

Italy and New Zealand can take a big step towards qualifying for the round of 16 with a victory in Group F action Sunday in South Africa (CBC,, 9:30 a.m. ET).

Day 10, Match 2 

Italy vs. New Zealand, Group F

Date and Location

June 20, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit   

Broadcast details

Live on CBC and (9:30 a.m. ET). Consult CBC’s full broadcast schedule.

Rogers Pre-game Show

Watch the Rogers Pre-game show 30 minutes before kick-off as our panel of soccer experts provide up-to-the-minute news from South Africa on this match.

What's at stake 

All four teams are tied in Group F after Italy battled Paraguay to a 1-1 draw, and New Zealand and Slovakia played things out to a similar score line.

Neither of these teams can clinch a second-round berth with a win in this match (nor can they be eliminated for contention with a loss). But they can take a big step towards qualifying for the round of 16 with a victory, as it would allow them to control their own destiny heading into the final slate of group games.

Suspension watch 

Winger Mauro Camoranesi earned a yellow card in Italy's previous match. If he receives another against New Zealand, he will be suspended for his country’s final game of the group stage. 

Defenders Tony Lochhead and Winston Reid are in a similar predicament for New Zealand.

Player to watch for Italy 

Daniele De Rossi —The AS Roma midfielder was immense for the Azzurri against Paraguay, venturing forward and trying to fill the shoes of injured playmaker Andrea Pirlo. Italy needs De Rossi to be at his best and again the boss in midfield.

Player to watch for New Zealand

Shane Smeltz —Easily New Zealand's most dangerous player, the star striker is a goal machine and his country's best scoring threat up front.

Key match-up 

Chris Killen and Shane Smeltz vs. Federico Marchetti —The two forwards give the All Whites a lethal one-two scoring punch, having combined for over 50 goals for the national team. Marchetti is starting in net for Italy in place of the injured Gianluigi Buffon. Look for the Kiwi forwards to pepper the Italian with as many shots as they can.

The Italian perspective 

"We're not at 100 per cent but that's the same for everyone. I'm very satisfied with the progress the team is making. ... There's nothing to worry about."   –coach Marcello Lippi

The Kiwi perspective 

"I am sure the Italians will be hoping to secure three points, we have the utmost respect for them but we will be up for it."- winger Vladimir Weiss

World Cup head-to-head 

Italy and New Zealand have never met at the World Cup.

All time head-to-head     

  • Games played: 1
  • Italy: 1 wins, 0 losses, 0 draws
  • New Zealand: 0 wins, 1 losses, 0 draws
  • Goals: Italy 4, New Zealand 3  
  • Last match: Italy defeated New Zealand in an international friendly last June.