Daniele de Rossi’s second half equalizer rescued Italy a point in their opening Group F clash against Paraguay last night.
At one stage it seemed as if the defending world champions would suffer a surprise defeat to the South American nation and be on the wrong side of the first major shock of the competition so far.
In a flat and rather negative first half, Paraguay shocked everyone in Cape Town by gaining the lead after 38 minutes with Antolin Alcaraz heading home from a free kick put into the Italian penalty area.
But the Italians got back in it due to a costly mistake from Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar.
Villar came out of his goal for a corner but totally misjudged its flight and could only watch as his dive missed the ball altogether for de Rossi to tap in to an empty net.
There are concerns about the relatively ageing Italian side and this performance will not eliminate those fears that this side is too old to suceed again.
Italy will be concerned that goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon had to be substituted at half time due to an apparent back injury.
Overall it was poor start to Italy’s defence of the World Cup and manager Marcelo Lippi will be demanding more from his team in their next game against New Zealand on Sunday.