Defending Champions Italy draw 1-1 with Paraguay in Cape Town

Defending World Cup champions Italy battled out a 1-1 draw with Paraguay in driving rain at Green Point Stadium, Cape Town in their Group F match of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa on Tuesday.

Paraguay’s Antolin Alcaraz put the South American side in front after 38 minutes before a 63rd minute equaliser by Daniele De Rossi levelled the scores for Italy.

Both sides played entertaining football and displayed plenty of skill considering how wet the conditions were.

First Half
Italy came out running and had most of the ball in the first stanza but were unable to put much goal mouth pressure on the Paraguayans for all their good work.

Once the game settled down Paraguay got into the match more and started to make their presence felt.

A couple of chances presented themselves for both sides midway through the fist-half when Italy’s Riccardo Montolivo had a shot that went directly to the keeper and not long after Aureliano Torres effort for Paraguay went wide from the edge of the penalty box.

Paraguay scored against the run of play on 39 minutes when Antolin Alcaraz got on the end of a free kick to put his header into the back of the net.

A good half of football and 1-0 to Paraguay at half-time.

First half rating (Out of 5): Italy 4 – Paraguay 3.5

Second Half
The second-half started badly for the Italians as their keeper Gianluigi Buffon had to be substituted for repacement Federico Marchetti at half time due to a lower back problem.

Each side had a couple of half chances early in the half which amounted to nothing before Paragiay’s Vera had the best chance of the half that ended up going wide of the keeper.

Just when Italy’s task appeared forlorn they were rewarded with a Daniele De Rossi goal from close range on 63 minutes.

The final 15 minutes presented chances for both sides but neither was able to find a winning goal and the match ended in a well fought out 1-1 draw.

Second Half rating (Out of 5): Italy 4- Paraguay 4

Final Score

Italy 1 – 1 Paraguay

39m Antolin Alcaraz (Par)
63m Daniele De Ross (Ita)

62m Victor Caceres (Par)
72m Mauro Camoranesi (Ita)

Italy Starting 11
Gianluigi Buffon, Gianluca Zambrotta, Fabio Cannavaro, Giorgio Chiellini, Domenico Criscito, Riccardo Montolivo, Daniele De Rossi, Simone Pepe, Claudio Marchisio, Vincenzo Iaquinta, Alberto Gilardino

Substitutes
46m Federico Marchetti for Gianluigi Buffon
59m Mauro Camoranesi for Claudio Marchisio
73m Antonio Di Natale for Alberto Gilardino

Paraguay Starting 11
Justo Villar, Carlos Bonet, Antolin Alcaraz, Paulo da Silva, Claudio Morel, Enrique Vera, Victor Caceres, Cristian Riveros, Aureliano Torres, Nelson Haedo Valdez, Lucas Barrios, Eric Choupo-Moting

Substitutes
60m Jonathan Santana for Aureliano Torres
68m Roque Santa Cruz for Nelson Haedo Valdez
76m Oscar Cardozo for Lucas Barrios

Team Game Rating (out of 10): Italy 8 – Paraguay 7.5

Match Thoughts

Two sides who played quality football in very trying wet conditions and both are very strong down back with the talent up front to take them both through to the next round on what they showed in this match.

Italy

Positives: Relentless possession and moved the ball very effectively and purposely in driving rain and top effort in the conditions.
Area to Improve: Plenty of possession for few chances on goal and will need to be more creative up forward to compliment good work in the middle of the field.
Where to now: Face New Zealand at Nelspruit and will be better for the run. The Kiwis are in trouble on what Italy showed us tonight, and with Slovakia to come, the Italians look assured of getting through this stage.

Paraguay

Positives: Kept the Italians at bay for most of the game with a well organised defence and showed why they qualified so highly in a tough South American group.
Area to Improve: Need to get out of the blocks quicker and assert more pressure when opponents are dominating possession.
Where to now: Play Slovakia then New Zealand and hard to see either of them breaking through the defence of Paraguay too often and the South Americans are likely to get through with Italy .

Filed Under: 2010 World Cup

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