A Justo Villar howler gave Italy a point against Paraguay, with Daniele De Rossi’s 64th minute goal enabling Italy to salvage a draw in Cape Town.
Paraguay will be happy with their point from the defending champions but could have had more, as Villar’s mistake coming off his line for a ball played by Simone Pepe allowed De Rossi to pull Italy even. The crossed ball flew over the Paraguayan goalkeeper and down onto the right foot of De Rossi, who redirected the ball into the open net.
The goal came amidst a match that had been dominated, in terms of possession, by Italy, though the Azzurri could generate no real scoring chances. Paraguay, having set-up conservatively at the match’s onset, were sitting on a first half goal, with only Villar’s mistake costing them three points.
That first half goal came from a set piece, when Aureliano Torres delivered a ball from 35 yards to near the spot, with defender Antolin Alcaraz rising to head the Paraguayans in front. It was a lead Paraguay would carry into halftime.
To start the second half, Italy replaced goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who it was later reported was suffering a hamstring problem. Federico Marchetti came on for the Juventus goalkeeper but had little to do in the half.
Italy faced an even more conservative Paraguayan take after halftime, and once Italy scored, the Azzurri pressed for the winner, maintaining control of the match.
Italy would finish the game with 57 percent of the possession, out-shooting Paraguay 5-1. With the one point won today, they move on to play New Zealand.
Paraguay’s next match will be against Slovakia.