World Cup: Day 4
Scores: Italy 1, Paraguay 1; Netherlands 2, Denmark 0; Japan 1, Cameroon 0.
Goal scorers: Paraguay: Antolin Alcaraz; Italy: Simone Pepe. Daniel Agger, Dirk Kuyt (Netherlands); Keisuke Honda (Japan).
Game of the day: CAPE TOWN – World Cup defending champion Italy locked jaws against a formidable opponent from Paraguay in Group F play at Green Point Stadium.Under the cold and rainy conditions at Cape Town, the Italians seemed well-organized and eager for a victory in the defense of the title.Defender Antolin Alcaraz scores in a header in the 40th minute to lift the Paraguayan squad to a 1-0 advantage over the defending champion Italy. Alcaraz takes out Italy’s Cannavaro leaving Buffon guarding the goal.But the Italians, the 2006 defending champion who is ranked 3rd in the world, show off their prowess on the pitch, but is unable to score in the first half.Simone Pepe’s slide in the 63rd minute saved his Italian compatriots in a 1-1 tie, but the squad has another challenge.The Italian contingent lost veteran goalie Gianluigi Buffon due to back problems. Marchetti, with considerable less experience, took over the gloves. Keep in mind that Paraguay was thrust into the worldwide spotlight after the shooting of Salvador Cabañas in a Mexican bar earlier this year. This is something that Paraguay coach, Gerardo Martino, believes, as Cabañas improves, will inspire the team throughout the World Cup. Cabañas was a likely player on the squad prior to the shooting.The referee in charge was Mexican Benito Archundia, an official with at least 40 hours on the field in 26 FIFA matches.Lineups: Italians: Gianluigi Buffon, Domenico Criscito, Giorgio Chiellini, Fabio Cannavaro, Daniele de Rossi, Simone Pepe, Vincenzo Iaquinta, Alberto Gilardino, Claudio Marchisio, Riccardo Montolivo. Coach Marcello Lippi. Paraguay: Justo Villari, Claudio Morel, Carlos Bonet, Enrique Vera, Paulo da Silva, Victor Caceres, Cristian Riveros, Aureliano Torres, Nelson Valdez, Lucas Barrios, Antolin Alcaraz. Coach Gerardo Martino.
Quote: We fell asleep for one second and you cannot do that against a team like that. It’s not the keeper’s (fault), we lost track of the player,” said Nelson Valdez, a Paraguayan striker.
Tuesday matches/ June 15: Slovakia vs. New Zealand, 4:30 a.m. (Group F); Cote d’Ivoire vs. Portugal, 7 a.m. (Group G); Brazil vs. Korea, 11 a.m. (Group G).