FIFA 2010 World Cup: Italy-Paraguay Player Ratings
Too old, too slow, too many injuries, notoriously slow starters, the wrong squad choices, too dependent on the injured Andrea Pirlo. As the world tuned in to watch the World Champions begin the defence of their trophy, all the excuses were already laid out waiting for Marcello Lippi's men to slip up against their South American opponents.
A bright start quickly faded and Paraguay took the lead. Italy showed great determination to fight back, looking like the better team in a gritty second half performance.
On to the ratings:
Gianluigi Buffon: 6
No blame for the goal, as the defense let Paraguay have a completely unmarked header. Taken off at half time due to injury, Italy will pray their number one is fit to continue as the tournament progresses.
Gianluca Zambrotta: 6.5
Looked reborn tonight, linked well with Pepe in the first half. Full of running, defensively alert. Repaid Lippi's continued faith in him and controlled the whole flank for the whole match.
Fabio Cannavaro: 5.5
Typical performance from the captain, sadly undone by his error which lead to the opening goal. Lost his man and was then out-jumped, both rarities when Cannavaro wears the Azzurri shirt.
Giorgio Chiellini: 6.5
Solid and unspectacular, he supported the captain well and together they ensured an organised defensive line, which held quite high up the pitch but was rarely threatened by Paraguay's supposedly quicker forwards.
Domenico Criscito: 6
Got forward to good effect, and did well not considering his inexperience compared to his colleagues in defence. Linked well with Pepe in the second half and made an assured start to his first World Cup.
Danielle De Rossi: 7
Sluggish in the early part of the game, he suffered as part of an unbalanced midfield set-up. Following the withdrawal of Marchisio, the team as a whole looked better and De Rossi thrived, protecting the defence and getting the vital equaliser.
Riccardo Montolivo: 6
A bright start, then faded before ending the game well. Overall a frustrating performance. Will need to be much better if he is to stand any chance of keeping Andrea Pirlo sidelined once the Milan man recovers from injury.
Claudio Marchisio: 5.5
Poor, but understandable given that he was again playing an unfamiliar role. It was a straight choice between him and De Rossi for who should make way, and the Roman's greater experience probably made the decision easy for Lippi. Sacrificial lamb.
Vincenzo Iaquinta: 5.5
Much like Marchisio, he struggled to make an impression, but did plenty of running as usual. Brighter when moved to central area, but can expect to lose his place to Camoranesi on Sunday.
Alberto Gilardino: 5.5
Lots of movement, held the ball up well but starved of service. Seemed like there was far too much distance between him and the supporting midfield—something Lippi needs to rectify before the next tough game.
Simone Pepe: 7.5
Bright, and certainly did enough to warrant his place in the starting line-up. Lots of tricks and flicks, but needs to try to link better with Gilardino. Looked much better on the left in the second half, where he and Criscito seemed to strike an excellent rapport. Player of the Day
Federico Marchetti: 6
Largely untested, could not ask for an easier debut.
Mauro Camoranesi: 6
Changed the game, but wasted much possession and made his customary rash challenges.
Antonio Di Natale: 5
Wasteful and unproductive. Looked like he and Iaquinta never met.
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