Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

A tie for the Armani set

Local Italian fans weren't so happy after the Azzuri drew with Paraguay, 1-1.

A tie for the Armani set

A short summary of today's 1-1 draw between Italy and Paraguay: Italy was by far the more attacking team despite the fact that its most prolific goalscorer, Antonio Di Natale, didn't enter the game until the 72nd minute.

Yet for the longest time, it looked like Paraguay's only shot on goal of the entire match would give the South American team all three points. It was a perfectly-executed set piece: in the 39th minute, Aureliano Torres served up a free kick on a silver platter for Antolin Alcaraz to head past an utterly frozen Gianluigi Buffon.

Italy kept charging forward, but couldn't produce the decisive move in the final third that they so badly needed. It didn't help that Paraguay had eight players behind the ball almost every time the Azzuri got near their 18-yard box.

Finally, in the 63rd minute, Italy broke through. Maybe Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar deserves some blame for misjudging the flight of Simone Pepe's corner, but it was a great service and Italy deserved the goal.

Alas, that would be it for the scoring. We've still only had one game in this tournament with more than two goals scored. As the soccer statisticians at OPTA noted on Twitter, there were 27 goals in the first 11 games of the 2006 World Cup; this year, there have been only 18.

The Italians we talked to in the Piazza today tried to keep their spirits high, but this was another chapter in Italy's long  history of sluggish starts at the World Cup.

After you watch the video, have at this question in the comments: What do you think is to blame for the lack of goals so far?

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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