Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reigning World Champions Expertly Marshalled By La Albirroja

Paraguay's Roque Santa Cruz said that the current 2010 Paraguay squad is the best for years. The opening game performance against Italy fully backed up this claim. With this draw, La Albirroja has a decent chance of progress into the knockout phase.

This was a spirited, hard working and physical Paraguayan display. A setpiece headed goal in the first half stunned Italy.  Danielle De Rossi equalized and relieved the pressure on the Italians.

The criticism that the Italian media have had about the team being too old and aged holds water now. Italy were looking extremely tired and devoid of ideas. Marcelo Lippi's constant reluctance to include Francesco Totti is looking like a big mistake now. How Italy need a playmaker to provide a creative thrust. Andrea Pirlo will definitely find his way back to the Italian lineup soon enough.

The Paraguayan's teamwork and determination stopped any threat from the Italians. In the end, the fact that two goals were scored from setpieces indicated how tight the match really was.

Gerardo Martino, Paraguay coach provided this insight on the well-deserved draw,
“We’re really pleased to have gone toe-to-toe with the reigning world champions and, above and beyond the result, we’re very satisfied with our performance, particularly as it’s the start of the World Cup. We couldn’t move the ball around accurately because of the way our opponents play, but we also made life difficult for them. The fact the goals came from set pieces says a lot. Paraguay could have a chance at this World Cup if we can combine the individual brilliance of other national sides with teamwork.”
The injury suffered by Gianluigi Buffon will be a worry for Lippi. Like Oliver Kahn in 2002, the 8-time Serie A Goalkeeper of The Season is carrying the Azzurri's hopes of World Cup glory on his shoulders this summer.

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