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Paraguay 1-1 Italy: Paraguay not to be fucked with, Italy not to be discounted. June 14, 2010

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in World Cup 2010.
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Victor Caceres, for his ballsy, intentionally dirty tackle, is my man of the match.

And so the increasingly Zach Galifianakis-like Daniele de Rossi (one of maybe three top-class players in the Azzuri eleven) pounced to spare Italy’s blushes. The stereotype with Italy is that you can never count the team out. But I really, really want to.

But of course that would be foolish. There’s a game against New Zealand next, after all, meaning it’s pretty likely the Italians will go into the last game in a qualification place. Then they’ve probably got Japan, Denmark or Cameroon in the next round, which shouldn’t be too challenging, meaning the first serious opposition they’ll face will be in the quarterfinals, if that.

On the other hand, could they do us all a favor and leave?

I also feel sorry for Paraguay. You can’t help but say this team has an endearing quality to it. I love feisty sides that are also technically competent, and that’s certainly Paraguay. When most teams or players (James Milner, Fabio Cannavaro, Nigel de Jong) go in for dirty tackles, it’s to break up the play and buy their sides a chance to get back and defend. When Victor Caceres did it, though, it was just to put a reducer on the Italian player who had been harassing his teammate. If he’d stayed on his feet, he’d have won the ball easily, but he wanted to send a message: “Don’t fuck with us. We’re crazy.” So he’s my man of the match.

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