Defender AntolÃn Alcaraz gave the South Americans a surprise lead shortly before half-time, outjumping veteran Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro to head home a free-kick, but the Azzurri drew level largely thanks to another World Cup 2010 goalkeeping error, this time from Justo Villar.
Paraguay’s ‘keeper came flying out to punch away a corner just past he hour-mark but made no contact whatsoever, leaving Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi the easy task of knocking the ball in at the back post.
Despite the draw, both sides will still feel confident of progressing out of Group F and into the last 16 with relative minnows New Zealand and Slovakia still to come.
Those two sides play each other in Rustenberg tomorrow (kick-off 1130 GMT) — join us at 1100 GMT for more live coverage.
Read on for our live commentary of Italy against Paraguay as it happened from Green Point stadium.
2028 GMT: My AFP colleague Hugo Olaza writes to me from the Paraguayan capital AsunciÃ³n: “Carlos Gamarra, captain of Paraguay at the last World Cup in Germany in 2006, says Paraguay’s draw was down to a tried and trusted formula which has worked well in the last three World Cups and led to AntolÃn Alcaraz’s headed goal from a free-kick.
“He says Italy’s goal from Daniele De Rossi resulted from an unfortunate mistake from the defence.
“We’ve won a golden point”, adds the former Inter Milan defender, speaking to Radio 9.70 AM in AsunciÃ³n.
But Hugo tells me that ‘What a shame’ is the phrase being uttered by the thousands of Paraguay fans in AsunciÃ³n who watched the 1-1 draw, after the ‘GuaranÃes’ allowed them to start dreaming of victory with AntolÃn Alcaraz’s first-half goal.”
2022 GMT: “We said at half-time they had to improve and they did to be fair. But they didn’t test the goalkeeper a lot and the goal came from a mistake. I thought a draw was a fair result,” says former Liverpool defender and BBC Sport pundit Alan Hansen.
87 mins: Time is running out for one of these two teams to fashion a winner — and Italy look the more likely with a cross just evading striker Vincenzo Iaquinta.
72 mins: Italy make a change now — Antonio Di Natale comes on for Alberto Gilardino
70 mins: YELLOW CARD! Italy’s Mauro Camoranesi is booked for a late challenge on Enrique Vera.
69 mins: Paraguay bring on Roque Santa Cruz for Nelson Valdez after that setback.
“The sponsors and media rose as one to salute De Rossi, the DJ is banging out some beats (or rather some typical Italian easy listening really) and someone is trying very hard to blow his vuvuzela — I no longer feel that I’m at a wake.”
63 mins: GOAL! Italy 1 Paraguay 1
And World Cup 2010 is graced with yet another awful goalkeeping blooper! Justo Villar flies out an tries to punch away Simone Pepe’s corner from the left but totally misses it and Daniele De Rossi bundles it in at the back post.
60 mins: Change for Paraguay — midfielder Jonathan Santana on for defender Aureliano Torres.
57 mins: Vincenzo Iaquinta has a jinking run into the area from the right, beats the right-back but the ball just runs away from him and out for a goal kick. More frustration for the Azzurri.
51 mins: Spectacular attempt at an overhead kick at goal by Juventus midfielder Simone Pepe from Gianluca Zambrotta’s cross from the right but he just fails to make contact.
1931 GMT: Change for Italy: Cagliari’s Federico Marchetti has replaced Gianluigi Buffon in goal.
And they’re under way again in the second half.
1929 GMT: “I’m pleased they’ve scored as it’s the best thing that could have happened to the game,” says former England striker and BBC Sport pundit Alan Shearer.
“It was a fantastic header — one I’d have been proud of myself! I’m pleased they’ve scored as it might open the game up a bit in the second half.”
1924 GMT: “We’d have taken anything after half an hour because we hadn’t had much to go on until then,” says former Liverpool defender and BBC Sport pundit Alan Hansen.
“But when it’s so difficult to create chances set-plays become more important and Paraguay’s from the start have been excellent.”
1824 GMT: It’s been a wet and miserable day in Cape Town — let’s hope both sides can put the damp conditions to their advantage and get their passing games going to produce an entertaining contest.
1822 GMT: Italy would be the first country for 48 years to retain the World Cup title should they triumph in the final in Johannesburg on July 11.
1815 GMT: The shooting of Paraguay star Salvador Cabanas still weighs heavily on the team and they plan to dedicate any World Cup victories they can manage to their teammate.
Cabanas, the 2007 South American footballer of the year, was shot in the head in the toilet of a trendy Mexico City bar in January. He survived but is on a long road to recovery.
He would certainly have been part of the team due to kick off against Italy here having played a vital part in their qualifying campaign.
Argentine-born Lucas Barrios, who only received his Paraguay passport a few weeks ago and will