BBC Sport world-cup-2010

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Italy 1-1 Paraguay

By Jonathan Stevenson
  1. 17:30 Commentary  

    Bored of the World Cup yet? Finding it hard to do anything else with the constant stream of games coming your way? Didn’t think so. I’m Jonathan Stevenson and after fulfilling part one of my four-part lifelong World Cup dream earlier today, I’ll be taking you through Italy v Paraguay on this fine evening.

  2. 17:34 Commentary  

    ‘What World Cup dream is that, then?’ I hear absolutely no-one ask. Well, I’m glad you asked. Since I was a kid, for some reason I’ve always wanted to see four teams play at the World Cup finals: Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina and Spain. Don’t ask me why, but England don’t feature – maybe it’s because I’ve seen them play a few times already. This morning at Soccer City, I ticked off part one as I watched the Dutch beat Denmark 2-0. I’m 25% there.

  3. 17:40 Commentary  

    But enough of me (I read your mind), how are you? Looking forward to Italy-Paraguay? Oh come on, tell me what’s going on inside that football-crazy head of yours. Hit me with a text to 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide), tweet me @Stevo_football and pop along to the 606 page to see what’s happening down there. I’m knocking on the door, please won't someone let me in?

  4. 17:42 Commentary  

    News just in: BBC Radio 5 live are suggesting that Ledley King is out for the rest of England's group games and a potential last 16 tie and it is also very doubtful that he would play even if they reached the quarter-finals.

  5. SMS  

    From Jack in Southampton: "Just had the worst possible day of exams. Stevo, show me a cupset."

    A World Cupset? Mate, let's just hope for a good game. Actually, make that pray.

  6. Twitter  

    From shivamLM: "If you are seeking excitment from an Italian team you know it's been a bad World Cup."

  7. 17:54 Commentary  

    Now then Shivam, below - I want you to take that back immediately. How short your memory is, for do you not remember the genius Italian commentary that accompanied Fabio Grosso's semi-final winner against Germany in 2006? Listening to that is, and will forever remain, one of the highlights of my life.

  8. 606  

    From James: "A simulation in a computer game has predicted that the Netherlands will win by beating Italy in the final. This must be entirely accurate and has nothing to do with the fact I was playing as the Netherlands and it was on 'easy'. Therefore we can safely assume Italy will cruise through the group."

  9. 18:02 Commentary  

    Snubbed by the BBC’s polled people and with seemingly no-one fancying them to retain their crown, 2006 World Cup winners Italy get their campaign under way this evening at Cape Town Stadium in the Mother City. I don’t think they’ll be too bothered, though – no-one fancied them four years ago either. Or in 1982. Or in 1938. Or in 1934...*

    * I can't actually confirm that the last two are true.

  10. SMS  

    Jonathan, Glasgow: "I don't know about you, but I'm a little fed up of all the moaning about the World Cup being boring etc. All the teams haven't even played yet, and besides, the first round of matches are traditionally cagey affairs. Judge it on 11 July, not now."

    Agreed. We haven't even seen Italy, Ivory Coast, Portugal, Brazil or Spain yet. Everyone's got to calm down.

  11. Commentary Pieter Cronje, Director of Communications for Cape Town:  

    "Stewards due to provide security at Cape Town Stadium tonight for Italy v Paraguay match have gone on strike. The South African police have taken over."

  12. Contributor BBC's Sara Halfpenny in Cape Town:  

    "I have seen people enter the stadium and so far it all seems under control."

  13. 18:15 Commentary  

    Stop doing whatever you're doing right now! The latest World Cup Motty Q&A with the great man himself has just started. Motty thinks Wayne Rooney could play up front on his own for England.

  14. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher  

    On Twitter: "Sven looking as relaxed as ever as he answers questions about the Ivory Coast. He is hopeful Drogba will play on Tuesday."

  15. 18:22 Commentary  

    My colleagues Caroline Cheese and Sam Lyon have been busy, it seems. Not content with getting involved on the live coverage, they’ve been throwing some numbers around too as they tried to build Italy’s case for the defence.

  16. Twitter  

    From tugombe: "Italy should beware. I can smell a potential upset."

    Are you sure that's not your dinner burning?

  17. 18:29 Commentary  

    Full team news on the way, but I can tell you Italy are without Andrea Pirlo and Mauro Camoranesi tonight. Paraguay leave out Roque Santa Cruz.

  18. 18:32 Commentary  

    Ivory Coast are hopeful Didier Drogba will be able play against Portugal on Tuesday, but the Ivorians are still waiting to hear from Fifa whether or not he will be allowed to turn out wearing a protective cast on his fractured arm.

  19. 606  

    From Odannyboy: "Come on Paraguay - my new second team due to their Sunderland stars. Can they beat the champions? Easy!"

  20. Contributor BBC Sport's Clarence Seedorf  

    "I'm looking at the Germans as the game I've enjoyed the most and the team I've liked the most so far. They played full-on attack, with good defence too of course, but that's what I think more teams - including the Netherlands - need to do. We need to see more flair."

  21. 18:41 Commentary  

    Did you know that the Italians have given us the spacehopper, jacuzzi and liposuction? And did you know that Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo declared a national holiday to celebrate qualification? Well you do now.

  22. 18:44 Commentary  

    You sent in a photo of yourself with a World Cup star yet? No? Why ever not? If you have a pic of yourself with an Italian footballer, whack it over. Equally (can you tell what's coming?), if you have a pic of yourself with a Paraguayan footballer, whack it over. But be a love and check out the BBC terms and conditions first. Jolly good.

  23. SMS  

    From Katie in Lancashire: "If anyone watches the entire match tonight without dozing off or losing the will to live, I shall be amazed! If ever there was a guaranteed 0-0..."

    You lot... you've changed. Banish that negativity, for it does you only harm.

  24. 18:51 Commentary Italy v Paraguay line-ups:  

    Italy: Buffon, Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Criscito, De Rossi, Marchisio, Montolivo, Pepe, Gilardino, Iaquinta.
    Subs: Marchetti, Maggio, Gattuso, Di Natale, Bocchetti, Camoranesi, Palombo, Quagliarella, Pazzini, Pirlo, Bonucci, De Sanctis.
    Paraguay: Villar, Bonet, Alcaraz, Da Silva, Morel Rodriguez, Vera, Victor Caceres, Riveros, Torres, Haedo Valdez, Barrios.
    Subs: Diego Barreto, Veron, Caniza, Julio Caceres, Cardozo, Edgar Barreto, Santa Cruz, Benitez, Santana, Ortigoza, Gamarra, Bobadilla.
    Referee: Benito Archundia Tellez (Mexico)

  25. 18:54 Commentary Italy v Paraguay team news:  

    World champions Italy begin the defence of their title without Andrea Pirlo, who has a calf problem, so Riccardo Montolivo slots into midfield to replace him. There has been plenty of speculation about coach Marcello Lippi's tactics but he goes with two men up front in Alberto Gilardino and Vincenzo Iaquinta, in what appears to be a 4-4-2. The Azzurri have five members of the side that won the trophy in 2006 in their starting line-up.

    Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino picks Lucas Barrios and Nelso Valdez up front, leaving £18m Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz - who missed their entire qualifying campaign with injury - on the bench. Another striker, Benfica's Oscar Cardozo, has recovered from an ankle injury but must also wait for his chance.

  26. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher  

    "Fifa will make a definite decision tonight on whether Didier Drogba will be able to wear his cast against Portugal on Tuesday (see 18:32). However, no official annoucement is expected until the day of the game."

  27. Twitter  

    From Chris1018: "Right positivity, I'm gonna go for 12-11 Paraguay, that positive enough?"

    Well there's no need to be facetious.

  28. 19:04 Commentary Italy manager Marcello Lippi:  

    "One of the most important things I learned from the World Cup last time is that everything that comes before it counts for nothing. You can have have 10 great games and then the World Cup comes and it can be totally different.”

  29. Contributor BBC Sport's Clarence Seedorf  

    "They know how to win, Italy - just look at their record in major tournaments. It's a mentality of the players."

  30. SMS  

    Ben, London: "Italy are lining up in the same 4-3-3 that failed so spectacularly at the Confederations Cup. Pepe will play on Gilardino's left and Iaquinta on the right."

  31. 19:14 Commentary  

    Paraguay, remember, go into this tournament without their star striker, Club America's Salvador Cabanas, who was shot in the head in a nightclub in Mexico City on 25 January. "It is a very sensitive issue for all of us in Paraguay,” said manager Gerardo Martino. “The players have been in touch with Cabanas and he is a great inspiration for us. He would have been here had he not suffered the accident. We hope to find him looking very well when we get back.”

  32. 606  

    From 606commentator: "I predict a gallon of goals. Paraguay are such a fast team. I see it being 4-4."

    Legend.

  33. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Hansen  

    "I think Fabio Cannavaro was absolutely outstanding for Italy at the last World Cup, the best defender there by a mile. But now, four years on, he's 36-years-old and has had some injuries and maybe lost half a yard of pace, which was one of his strengths."

  34. Contributor BBC Sport's Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany manager in 2006)  

    "When you look back at the semi-final we lost to Italy four years ago of course it is still painful. But Germany yesterday played a great game for such a young team, it's a really good start to the World Cup."

  35. 19:22 Commentary  

    I'm excited about this one. Shall we agree on something? If it's a bit cagey early doors, we won't throw toys out of our pram and start moaning about how rubbish the World Cup is. That OK? Thanks.

  36. Contributor BBC Sport's Chris Bevan  

    "Fantastic sense of anticipation inside the Cape Town Stadium as the 2010 World Cup waits to get its first look at the defending champions in action. The Italian press may not believe their team has a chance of defending their title but their fans do. The ground is far from full but there are Italian flags everywhere you look."

  37. 19:24 Commentary  

    The teams are out! Get the anthems in, Fifa...

  38. 19:25 Commentary  

    "Italia, Italia..." they belt out. I love it. I mean I'm not Italian, but it's one of my favourite tunes - let alone anthems - full stop.

  39. 19:27 Commentary  

    The Paraguayans have only gone and hammered out their tune too, haven't they? Magical stuff at the Cape Town Stadium. We're almost good to go, would you believe?

  40. 19:30 KICK-OFF  

    Mexican referee (uh-oh, that sounds familiar) Benito Archundia gets us under way in the Mother City. Let's hope for the mother of all football matches...

  41. 1 min Commentary  

    Cristian Riveros goes in hard on Riccardo Montolivo, but catches the Italian just above his ankle. Bit naughty, that - he's probably lucky it happened so early on.

  42. SMS  

    From Christie in Mold: "How good was it to hear every Italian player singing their anthem with gusto instead of either whispering it or not singing it at all? Please take note England!"

  43. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "It's a very fast pitch. We've had teeming rain throughout the day and there's no doubt about it - the ball will move very quickly."

  44. 6 mins Commentary  

    Some of the players are slipping over, it's so wet. Italy have made a decent start, showing plenty of will to get forward and get the ball in the Paraguay box.

  45. Contributor BBC Sport's Mick McCarthy  

    "Why on earth would they ban the vuvuzelas? There's a terrific atmosphere at every game at this World Cup."

  46. Contributor BBC Sport's Chris Bevan  

    "Italy shaping up as 4-2-3-1 rather than 4-4-2. Alberto Gilardino is on his own up front but Vincenzo Iaquinta and Simone Pepe are getting forward regularly down either flank to support him. It's working too - Paraguay are definitely on the back foot in the early stages."

  47. 11 mins Commentary  

    Paraguay are content to defend so far, they aren't making life easy for themselves by giving the ball away so easily. But (see 19:22), the toys stay in the pram, remember? Daniele di Rossi is tripped by Victor Caceres, but nothing given.

  48. 13 mins Commentary  

    Paraguay beat Argentina and Brazil in South American qualifying for the World Cup, but they've shown us absolutely nothing so far in Cape Town.

  49. 15 mins IT'S RAINING  

    It's absolutely hammering it down in Cape Town. We've had nothing but sunshine all day in Johannesburg. I thought it was supposed to be the other way round? Happy days.

  50. 18 mins Commentary  

    This game, and our evening, is in Italy's hands. Paraguay would snatch your hand off if you offered them a draw right now, so it's up to the holders to make a proper match of it. In the Azzurri we trust.

  51. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "Gianluigi Buffon looks absolutely resplendent in his all-white kit with leggings and white gloves. If he makes a save he'll be taken to heart by the rainbow nation."

  52. 20 mins Commentary  

    Haha, well done to David Pleat for making me chuckle. Is he's reading this (unlikely, I know), David, could you make sure Forest sign Nicky Shorey this summer please? Thanks. What? Oh there's nothing going on in Cape Town right now, don't you worry.

  53. 21 mins Commentary  

    Paraguay make a rare foray into the Italy box and an inswinging corner causes a moment of panic before the super-cool Fabio Cannavaro clears. Up the other end and Italy break, but Riccardo Montolivo's low shot dribbles into the arms of Justo Villar.

  54. 23 mins Commentary  

    More danger from the Paraguayans, perhaps incensed by my comment after 18 minutes. A cross from the right bounces outside the box to Aureliano Torres, but he cannot get hold of a left-foot shot and it's well wide in the end.

  55. 606  

    From WAYNEEBCFC: "The quality of shots taken from outside the box has been appalling."

  56. Contributor BBC Sport's Chris Bevan  

    "This wet weather, a slick playing surface, plus that notorious World Cup ball equals bad news for goalkeepers. Italy's Gianluigi Buffon and Paraguay's Justo Villar beware - although at least they will have an excuse."

  57. 28 mins Commentary  

    Domenico Criscito is doing well for Italy at left-back, trying to get up and support the attack at every opportunity. Looks a good prospect, the 23-year-old from Genoa.

  58. SMS  

    From Shelley: "Yes they beat Brazil, did Paraguay, but they also lost to Uruguay. I was lucky enough to go to that game in Montevideo and Uruguay looked a class apart. I am predicting a comfortable 2-0 Italian victory."

  59. 33 mins Commentary  

    Hey Katie in Lancashire at about 18:44, you still awake? Have you lost the will to live? Clever clogs.

  60. 35 mins Commentary  

    It'd be entirely fair to suggest that this game in Cape Town has become bogged down into an all-too-familar midfield stalemate, with both teams really struggling for creativity. I, however, am loving it, because it's the World Cup.

  61. Twitter  

    From shimmysmit: "Any idea what the odds are that Italy'll win every group game 1-0?"

  62. 39 mins GOAL Italy 0-1 Paraguay  

    Bang - that's how to head a football. Paraguay have a free-kick 45 yards out on the right and Aureliano Torres curls it dangerously goalwards for Antolin Alacaraz to get up imperiously above Fabio Cannavaro and Daniele de Rossi and thump a header into the corner of the net. That woke you up, didn't it?

  63. 41 mins Commentary  

    That really is a magnificent header. Are we about to see a major, major upset at the 2010 World Cup finals?

  64. Contributor BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at Cape Town Stadium  

    "I knew this game needed a goal but I don't think many people here expected it to go to Paraguay - their celebrations showed how it was a bit of a surprise to them too. Big question marks over how Fabio Cannavaro and Daniele De Rossi tried to deal with that free-kick and, if the score stays the same, there will be no escape from Alcaraz in the Italian papers for Marcello Lippi tomorrow morning."

  65. 45 mins INJURY TIME  

    We're into one added minute at the end of the first half. Fabio Cannavaro is not a happy man.

  66. 20:16 HALF-TIME Italy 0-1 Paraguay  

    We might just have a World Cupset on our hands in Cape Town.

  67. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Hansen  

    "We'd have taken anything after half an hour because we hadn't had much to go on until then. But when it's so difficult to create chances set-plays become more important and Paraguay's from the start have been excellent."

  68. 606  

    From Always United: "Italy are in all sorts of trouble. Both teams were banking on scoring the first goal and now that Paraguay have got it, an Italy side devoid of creativity may not be able to respond without being exposed on the break. I expect Paraguay to go on and win this game."

  69. World Cup Have Your Say  

    The debate goes on about the vuvuzelas on our World Cup Have Your Say blog. Should everyone complaining about them just calm down and accept them as part of South Africa's football culture? Let us know what you think.

  70. Contributor BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at Cape Town Stadium  

    "Italy troop off at the break with 45 minutes to stop the defence of their World Cup from getting off to the worst possible start. Marcello Lippi’s side probably don’t deserve to be behind but they haven’t done much to trouble the South Americans either. As feared, the Azzurri look short of creativity and they are at real risk of being on the wrong end of the first big shock of the tournament. They are known to be slow starters, but there will still be a few metaphorical tomatoes thrown at them in tomorrow’s papers if they don’t rescue this match in the second half."

  71. SMS  

    From Paul, Suffolk: "You can thank me for the goal, I decided I couldn't wait until half-time for a cuppa so went and made one, promptly missing the goal!"

  72. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Shearer  

    "We didn't expect the goal to come from Paraguay at all, but that's the best thing that could have happened to the game. And what a fantastic header, one I would have been proud of myself. Let's hope it opens the game up."

  73. 20:31 Commentary  

    We're back under way at Cape Town Stadium. It's suddenly become a very big 45 minutes, hasn't it? Especially as Italian number one Gianluigi Buffon has come off at the break, with Federico Marchetti coming on. Can't remember the last time I saw anyone else in goal for the Italians.

  74. 48 mins Commentary  

    Here's what's going to happen in the next 45-odd minutes: Italy are going to have most of the ball, and Paraguay are going to get everyone behind the ball to keep them out. It's intriguing.

  75. Twitter  

    From acmilandrew: "There's a distinct lack of creativity in this Italian side. I certainly can't wait till Andrea Pirlo gets fit."

  76. 53 mins Commentary  

    Will someone please learn how to shoot from outside the box? A Paraguay corner is half-cleared to the edge of the Italy box and Enrique Vera lazily swings his left foot at the ball, sending it miles off target. At the other end, Simone Pepe tries an ambitious overhead kick from Gianluca Zambrotta's cross but fails to make contact.

  77. 55 mins Commentary  

    Oooof, that would've made life even more interesting. Paraguay are causing Italy problems when they go forward and the holders are not convincing at the back by any means. The ball falls for Enrique Vera on the right and he fizzes a drive just past the angle of post and crossbar.

  78. 56 mins Commentary  

    Italy are being restricted to shots from range as Riccard Montolivo fires one in from 25 yards, but it's a routine save for Justo Villar. Mauro Camoranesi is being readied by the Italians.

  79. Contributor BBC Sport's Mick McCarthy  

    "They get out and close the game down well don't they, Paraguay? They've had it quite easy in the second half so far, don't think Justo Villar's had much to do at all."

  80. 60 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Italy do send on Argentine-born midfielder Mauro Camoranesi for Claudio Marchisio, while Paraguay send on Jonathan Santana for Aureliano Torres.

  81. 62 mins YELLOW CARD  

    First yellow of the game - after the hour mark - is for Paraguay's Victor Caceres after his late challenge on Riccardo Montolivo.

  82. 63 mins GOAL Italy 1-1 Paraguay  

    Hello, another goalkeeping howler? Italy get back on level terms, but Justo Villar will have to take the blame for that one. Simone Pepe whips in a corner from the left and Villar completely misses an attempted one-handed punch away, allowing Daniele De Rossi to bundle in from close range. Game on.

  83. 65 mins Commentary  

    Riccardo Montolivo bursts into the Paraguay area and falls under a coming together with Paulo a Silva, but there's no way that's a penalty and Benito Archundia waves play on.

  84. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "It will be interesting to see what the Paraguay philosophy will be now. Will they sit back and think the draw is a decent result or push forward and look for the winner? I think they'll be more than happy to look for the draw."

  85. 69 mins Commentary  

    Paraguay bring on £18m striker Roque Santa Cruz for Nelson Valdez.

  86. 70 mins YELLOW CARD  

    Mauro Camoranesi is booked for a late challenge on Paraguay's Enrique Vera.

  87. Contributor BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at Cape Town Stadium  

    "That goal has put an extra spring in the step of the Italian players - and brought their fans back to life - but they still have to be careful here. Paraguay have had a couple of openings themselves since the break and, other than at set-pieces, the Azzurri have not really managed to open them up. Still much room for improvement from Marcello Lippi's men."

  88. 72 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Italy send on speedy winger Antonio di Natale for Alberto Gilardino. They are going to go for it, I think.

  89. Contributor BBC Sport's Mick McCarthy  

    "The goal has had a really negative affect on the Paraguayans, they don't look anything like the team they did just before Italy scored."

  90. 75 mins Commentary  

    Mauro Camoranesi is living on the edge - he fouls Enrique Vera again and Vera, on the floor, brandishes an imaginary yellow card at the Mexican referee, imploring him to give the Italian a second and his marching orders. Benito Archundia disagrees.

  91. 76 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Oscar Cardozo comes on for Lucas Barrios for Paraguay.

  92. Twitter  

    From InfostradaLive: "Buffon is first Italian keeper ever substituted at World Cup, first since Argentina’s Abbondanzieri in 2006 in QF vs Germany."

  93. 80 mins Commentary  

    Simone Pepe has been lively for Italy tonight and after they do well to get the ball out to him on the left, he cuts inside and lashes in a right-foot shot that Justo Villar gathers in comfortably.

  94. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "Substitutions that were well worth making for Paraguay. So far tonight their combination up front just haven't been able to get going so let's see how this new pairing will do in the latter stages."

  95. 83 mins Commentary  

    This is brilliant - it's just classic Italy at a big tournament. How can you not be enjoying this? They have the momentum, but they are still struggling to create chances. From distance, Riccardo Montolivo's arrow-like drive is expertly pushed behind by Justo Villar.

  96. 606  

    From Robsoninho: "Fabio Cannavaro has looked so much more composed than on the night Fulham's Bobby Zamora tormented him into getting sent off. He's been very good tonight."

    Yessss, finally a Bobby Zamora mention. He did make it to the World Cup after all!

  97. 86 mins Commentary  

    Italy are going for it, they are rushing. Simone Pepe's fizzing free-kick is brilliantly headed away by Victor Caceres - the Paraguayans have shown they know how to defend tonight too.

  98. 88 mins Commentary  

    By the way, Wigan snapped up Paraguay scorer Antolin Alcaraz on a free from Brugge last month. Great spot by Roberto Martinez, who I spotted looking very dapper on my way out of Soccer City earlier.

  99. 90 mins INJURY TIME  

    We are into three minutes of injury time at the Cape Town Stadium, and I fear we have had all the action we're destined for this evening.

  100. 90 mins Commentary  

    Thirty seconds left, Paraguay are going to pump the ball into the Italy box...

  101. 21:19 FULL-TIME Italy 1-1 Paraguay  

    You know what? They didn't pump it into the box. But that's that, and I'm pretty sure we can count that as an upset. Italy are held, an inauspicious start for the world champions.

  102. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Hansen  

    "I thought a draw was a fair result. I'm still wondering where the creativity will come from for Italy and they got their goal because of a mistake, but 1-1 is fair."

  103. Contributor BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at Cape Town Stadium  

    "In the end, Daniele De Rossi spared Italy's blushes and they definitely deserved a point despite an impressive performance by Paraguay - but the Italians sorely missed Andrea Pirlo's creative nous and that defence looks very creaky indeed. I'm sure Marcello Lippi's biggest concern will be over the fitness of Gianluigi Buffon, however, because it seems unlikely that this team will progress very far in this World Cup without him in goal."

  104. SMS  

    Rob, Londonderry: "The most intriguing half of the tournament. Granted it was another keeper howler for the goal, but still very gripping."

  105. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "Overall the Italians were the better side but I was quite disappointed with their strikers. There was no real expression of skill, but perhaps we're expecting a little bit too much, too early. Quite often in the opening games, your central midfielders are less inclined to push forward, the full-backs are more content to sit back and that's what we've been seeing at the World Cup so far."

  106. Twitter  

    From Hashamking: "Yesterday, all three matches had a red card in them. Today, we saw no red cards... what is this?"

    That's what they call 'life', mate.

  107. 21:36 Commentary  

    On Tuesday, or 'Day five of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa', as some people are already calling it, there's New Zealand v Slovakia, Ivory Coast v Portugal and Brazil v North Korea. You have to sleep, because it'll come along quicker, see?

  108. 606  

    From Andyj247: "Well, will the Italian press murder the team? Also, will Paraguay's press destroy their keeper for his mistake? Funny how people are saying it was a good point for Italy... was it not for England too?"

  109. 21:45 Commentary  

    All that remains for me to do is to thank you wholeheartedly for staying with us from 0900 BST (I presume you did) and wish you either sweet dreams or a cracking day, wherever you are in the world. It's Day Five Eve! Night night.

By Chris Bevan, Cape Town

World champions Italy had to fight back from a goal down to earn a point against Paraguay as they began the defence of their crown with an unconvincing draw.

Marcello Lippi's side looked like they would be on the wrong end of the first major shock of the 2010 World Cup when they fell behind to Antolin Alcaraz's first-half header but an error from the South American side's goalkeeper Justo Villar gifted Daniele de Rossi an equaliser.

The ageing Azzurri, who featured five of their 2006 winning team in their starting line-up, looked short of ideas going forward and also have a concern over the fitness of legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who was forced off at half-time with an apparent back injury.

Italy did avoid their first defeat in their opening game of a World Cup since losing to the Republic of Ireland in New York in 1994 but this was not a performance to reassure their army of travelling fans that they are in any sort of shape to defend their title.

In the absence of the injured Andrea Pirlo, who is expected to return later in the group stage, it fell on Simone Pepe to try to open up the Paraguayan defence, but it was only in the closing stages of the game that he and his side managed any sustained spells of pressure.

Lippi's men dominated possession but their opponents' disciplined and regimented approach, in some ways reminiscent of many cautious Azzurri sides in the past, held firm.

Italy's best opening of the first half hour actually came on the break when Riccardo Montolivo dispossessed Salvatore Bocchetti on the half-way line but, after running to the edge of the area, his low shot barely tested Villar.

At the other end, Paraguay were growing in confidence and they had already wasted a couple of decent shooting chances when they stunned the world champions by taking the lead after 39 minutes.

Aureliano Torres curled in a wicked free-kick and Alcaraz leapt to beat Fabio Cannavaro and De Rossi and power home his header into the corner of the net.

Things got even worse for Italy at half-time when goalkeeper Buffon, another survivor of 2006 and still the anchor of their side, had to be replaced by Federico Marchetti.

Paraguay continued to look comfortable after the break and Enrique Vera came close to adding a second when he drove a fierce shot over the bar when the ball broke to him in the area.

But Italy were gifted an equaliser by the sort of goalkeeping howler that we have become used to in the opening days of this World Cup.

Villar flapped horribly at Pepe's corner and missed his attempted punch, allowing the onrushing De Rossi to force the ball the home from close range.

Italy looked a lot sharper after equalising and ended the stronger side but they were still finding things frustrating in the final third and had to settle for shots from distance.

Pepe fired wide after cutting in from the right and Montolivo had a low effort turned round the post before the end but the Paraguayans held on for the draw that their performance merited.

Italy Italy Flag 1-1 Paraguay Flag Paraguay FT

(HT 0-1)

De Rossi, 63
Alcaraz, 39

Italy

Paraguay

 

Substitutes:

Substitutes:

  • Venue: Green Point Stadium
  • Referee: B Archundia
  • Attendance: 62,869
Italy     Paraguay
  • Possession 53%
    47%
  • Attempts on target 9
    1
  • Attempts off target 1
    6
  • Corners 8
    4
  • Fouls 13
    15

Projected table based on current scores

Group A

Group A teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Uruguay 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 7
Mexico 3 1 1 1 3 2 1 4
South Africa 3 1 1 1 3 5 -2 4
France 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1

Group B

Group B teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Argentina 3 3 0 0 7 1 6 9
South Korea 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4
Greece 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
Nigeria 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1

Group C

Group C teams P W D L F A GD PTS
USA 3 1 2 0 4 3 1 5
England 3 1 2 0

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