Monday, June 14, 2010

Italy and Paraguay battle out 1-1 draw

Italy's Gianluca Zambrotta (C) battles for the ball with Paraguay's Antolin Alcaraz, near Aureliano Torres, during a 2010 World Cup Group F soccer match at Green Point stadium in Cape Town June 14, 2010. REUTERS/Oleg Popov (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Probably one of the most exciting matches of this World Cup so far, both teams went for it, looking for goals as they both attacked providing an unseen spectacle so far.

Italy - Paraguay

The match started with a bit of apprehension from both sides, but they eventually started to create chances, Paraguay had one of the best in the first half, working their way with Torres right outside the 18 with the ball on his foot and Buffon out of position, but his shot was disappointing. Then in the 39th minute, Paraguay strike first from a free kick, the ball swung in and Alcaraz jumps the highest to head Paraguay into the lead before the second half.

Italy's Fabio Cannavaro fights for the ball with Paraguay's Nelson Haedo Valdez (R) during a 2010 World Cup Group F soccer match at Green Point stadium in Cape Town June 14, 2010.   REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
While Italy weren't as dominant as we've seen them, they grew with time, retaining the ball and getting close to goal often with an inspired Pepe. Buffon was taken off for an unknown reason and replaced by Marchetti in goal, as Camoranesi and Di Natale came on later in the half. But Paraguay scared Italy before their goal with Vera almost hitting the post from close range, but in the 63rd, Italy's De Rossi scores from a corner after Paraguay's keeper Villar completely misses it, leaving the goal wide open for the equalizer.

Italy then went on to dominate the possession and chances, Montolivo grew more into his playmaker role with long strikes on target and great passes which often led to crosses for Di Natale or Iaquinta. While Italy could have a penalty claim, Paraguay played very well. Now it's very possible that New Zealand or Slovakia sneak into first place in front of the defending World Cup champions.

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