Italy v Paraguay preview – The old guard put to the test?

The Italians are known for starting slow in World Cup matches and then building momentum as the tournament progresses. Their warm up games have left much to be desired and they have not looked like World Champions.

Paraguay on the other hand have been playing great football and showed that they are a serious threat, when they beat both Argentina and Brazil at home during their qualifying matches.

The Italians, like always will rely on their defense. There will be no Nesta or Maldini for the Azzuris but Fabio Cannavaro, Giorgio Chiellini, and Gianluca Zambrotta will do their best to keep the ball out of their net.

Paraguay will have to come up with an attacking strategy if they want to penetrate the Italian defense and get the ball past veteran goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon. While the Italian side has a lot of experience, it also has one of the oldest squads in this tournament. If teams can come up with a strategy to isolate Cannavaro and Chiellini, the aging Azzuri squad could turn out to be a liability for coach Marcello Lippi.

Gerardo Martino, who is the head coach of Paraguay will be hoping that his youthful side will be able to hold their nerves and play an attacking game of football. The men from Paraguay have a solid game and need to focus on how they can penetrate the Italian defense.

A lot will depend on their star striker Roque Santa Cruz and the support he gets from Nelson Haedo Valdez and Oscar Cardozo. Most of the experts predict that this game will be a slow game with both teams going on the defensive. A draw could be on the cards or a 1-0 result in favor of Italy.

The Italians will rely on their ability to pass the ball to each other and maintain possession throughout the game, a similar tactic which they adopted during the last world cup. There are 9 players present from the 2006 championship team and they will be looking to use all their experience and technical skill to secure their first win in South Africa.

There will be no surprises with the Italian team strategy. It is a well known fact that the Azzuri’s generally look to tire their opponents and then try and go on the attack. However, over the last year the Italians have not done well, losing to Egypt and Brazil in the 2009 Confederations Cup.

They will be looking to leave the past behind and perform on a bigger stage and prove to the rest of the world that they have the ability to win the World Cup again.

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