Cape Town: Four years on from that heavy night in Berlin, the Azzures stepped on to the Cape town pitch against a talented Paraguan side who stunned them with the opening goal to take the lead until Daniele De Rossi levelled the score in the 69th minute to finish the match 1-1 draw in Cape town.
Da Silva playing his 75th game for Paraguay along with other defense men stood firm against the Italian attack towards the end of the game to hold the defending champions to 1-1 draw and share a point in Cape town.
Cannavaro meanwhile, was playing his 134th game for Italy.
The game started off quietly with both teams trying to keep the position and get the tone going.
The Paraguan side who had an impressive qualifying campaign
coming into the finals, looked compact with their defense as they
were very well organized, giving no space for the Italian forwards
to make a breakthrough.
The Italians looked to pass the ball around and tried to put the ball in but the Paraguan D-area but Da Silva and his defense line up let no chance for the Italians to sniff through.
The conditions meanwhile was wet, with rain pouring in Cape town pitch during the match.
In the 22nd minute Torres for Paraguay got an opening to make his shot but his effort was way off the target to trouble Gianluigi Buffon.
The game seemed to be hard fought as there was not much difference in the ball possession. The ageing Italian side missed that spark, that inspirational striking force to break through rock solid Paraguan defense.
In the 28th minute the Italians got a free kick in a good position but it was a dissapointing free kick with not enough height where the Paraguan defense cleared it easily.
A frustrating half for the defending champions as they continued to find it tough to breakthrough the Paraguan defense. Italy were held on to just one shot on target till the 30th minute by the Paraguan defense.
In the 39th minute, Paraguay got a free kick which was taken by Aureliano Torres. He hit a beautifully flighted ball in the Italian D-area where Antolin Alcaraz managed to get in-between two Italian defenders Cannavaro and De Rossi and head it past Buffon giving no chance for the goal keeper to make a save.
With their noses in front,the South Americans suddenly started to press the Italian defense and created more chances.
At the end of the first 45 minutes the South Americans were up front with 1-0 score.
Gianluigi Buffon was strangely substituted for some injury in the second half as it got started off.
It was 1974 last time Italy got eliminated in the group stages. Four time World Champions were being tested big time as they were chasing for an equalizer in the second half.
Four years ago the South Americans were defeated by England and
Sweden, they only managed to beat Trinidad and Tobago but in this
match they looked confident keeping it tidy especially after the
In the 53rd minute Pepe got a good ball in as he tried a overhead bicycle shot but failed to get contact.
In the 55th minute Vera got a good shot at goal after the Italian defenders made a sloppy clearance but his effort went over the cross bar.
The tempo of the game changed suddenly as both teams made good movements and shots started raining in more frequently.
In the 59th minute Camoranessi in as substitute and straight away felt his presence felt as he put a testing ball in the Paraguan D-area but his ball was calmly collected by the Paraguan goal keeper.
In the 63rd minute Daniele De rossi converted a corner kick
scoring his 9th international goal, opening the account for the
Azzures and most importantly getting that equalizer and setting up
the match for the Italians.
Justo Villar, Paraguan goal keeper misjudged the flight of the ball completely and failed to reach the ball, giving De Rossi an open net to make a difference for the Italians.
The game suddenly flowed from one end to another with both teams looking out for the deciding goal.
Roque Santa Cruz came in at the 69th minute to bolster the Paraguan forward line as they were looking for the winning goal.
With about 10 minutes remaining both teams were still stretching for the deciding goal. Pepe muscled a long distance shot in the 80th minute for the Italians but the shot was straight in the hands of the goal keeper.
In the 83rd minute, Claudio Marchisio hit a brilliant shot but his shot was saved by the South American goal keeper.
With about six minutes remaining the Paraguan outfit looked to play for a draw and share the point as the Italians kept on pressing for the deciding goal.
In the 86th minute Pepe got a free kick form a decent position
but his effort was once again headed away by the Paraguan defense
which looked good throughout.
The Azzures kept the heat on but did not manage to find the winning goal as the referee blew the final whistle of the match.