Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro lamented his side's failure to take three points against Paraguay but praised their character in coming from behind to draw 1-1.
Having played well in the first half of their FIFA World Cup™ opener last night, the 2006 winners were shocked when Paraguay defender Antolin Alcaraz rose to head home a 39th-minute free-kick. Italy's blushes were spared to some extent, however, as Daniele De Rossi slid in to punish a mistake by Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar after 63 minutes and take a 1-1 draw in the Group F opener at Cape Town's Green Point Stadium.
"We're not very happy about the result of the match," said Cannavaro, who lifted the trophy four years ago. "Paraguay are a good team but they didn't play very well because they were quite defensive. We had many chances to score the second goal and Paraguay managed to stop us. That kind of thing can happen in the World Cup.
"Our second-half performance was very good because we scored one and when you are losing, that is not easy psychologically. We played good football in the second half."
Coach Marcello Lippi echoed his skipper's sentiments.
"We have to grow and continue the work we have done," he said. "We are only at the beginning - I am sure we will succeed. I'm very satisfied with our performance, I'm very satisfied with the approach to the World Cup. Our opponent was described as being a very fierce opponent so I'm very happy.
"There was a good reaction on our part. We equalised. The only thing I regret is normally matches of this type we win. We created little danger compared to the volume of play. We are there mentally, we are there with our heart, we are there fully."
Lippi's opposite number Gerardo Martino admitted his side could not compete with the defending champions' passing accuracy.
"We weren't terribly accurate when we moved the ball, especially due to Italy's play," he said. "Only a few times were we able to move the ball because we knew they would be that kind of opponent. But we also made it hard for them. It was very close."