Paraguay have taken huge encouragement from their opening-game draw at 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ against defending champions Italy with coach Gerardo Martino saying it illustrated their potential.

The South Americans came into the tournament in great shape having beaten Brazil and Argentina in qualifying, and now, after holding Italy, they can no longer be considered minnows.

Much of the credit is down to Argentinian Martino who has managed to negotiate a delicate transition for his team. He said he was pleased to soak up the Italian pressure and take a point.

There are some teams that allow you to make mistakes but with Italy you know that one mistake could be very costly.

Gerardo Martino, Paraguay coach

"We played this game equally against the current world champions," he said. "To play against a rival with such skills is a very good sign for us. It gives is a lot of confidence going ahead in this tournament.

"There are some teams that allow you to make mistakes but with Italy you know that one mistake could be very costly. We attach great importance to what we have done."

Martino did admit though that there were areas of their game they needed to work on ahead of their next clash with Slovakia before they face New Zealand. "We weren't terribly accurate when we played the ball. Italy didn't make it easy for us," he added.

"But we knew Italy was going to be like that. I think we also made life difficult for them. Our next matches will be completely different. We need to improve on our possession and how we move the ball."

Paraguay are dedicating all their FIFA World Cup games to Cabanas, the 2007 South American Footballer of the Year who was shot in the head while visiting a Mexico City bar in January. He survived, but is on a long road to recovery.