To see the Italy fans out in Sydney...


The South Americans appeared on track to stunning the ageing but highly-fancied Azzurri in the first half as they produced numerous shots at goal before Antolin Alcaraz nodded home the opener for Paraguay six minutes before the break.

It was the first time an opposition side has posted a World Cup finals' goal in open play against the Italians since Japan-Korea 2002, as the two the Azzurri conceded in Germany came from an own goal against USA and a penalty in the 2006 final with France.

However, a poor goalkeeping error by Justo Villa handed Italy an equaliser just after the hour, as the stopper failed to punch clear Pepe's corner as Daniele De Rossi pounced, driving home the levelling goal.

The Italians upped the ante from then on but Paraguay held firm, producing the sort of resilient defensive performance that has made the Italians famous, an effort that Martino was justifiably proud of.

"We played this game equally against the current world champions," Argentina-born Martino told the BBC.

"To play against such a rival with such skills is a very good sign for us.

"We were very organised and we defended well in the second half. It's a good result for us against an opponent like this.

"It gives is a lot of confidence going ahead in this tournament."

The result sees Italy and Paraguay take the lead on the Group F table ahead of rivals New Zealand and Slovakia facing off on Tuesday in Rustenberg.

Paraguay's next assignment sees the South Americans take on Slovakia in Bloemfontein in next Sunday's day game before their final Group F clash with New Zealand on Thursday June 24 in Polokwane.

To see the Italy fans out in Sydney...