Italy look to top Group F and repeat 2006 World Cup success
World Cup holders Italy begin their bid to retain the tournament on Monday evening as they take on South American side Paraguay.
The Azzurri are not expected to go as far as the consistent side of 2006, but they still have a number of experienced players who have won the top domestic honours.
Marcello Lippi, coach of the triumph in Germany four years ago, will step down when the tournament finishes, and this is seen as his last chance of glory in what has been a hugely successful career.
Lippi’s side appear to have no obvious star in his squad, with the mercurial Francesco Totti dropped from the squad after a poor end to the season with his club side Roma.
The likes of Filippo Inzaghi and Alessandro Del Piero have also reached the end of their international careers, meaning that Alberto Gilardino and Vincenzo Iaquinta are expected to fire the four-time winners to the later stages in South Africa.
But Paraguay will be now pushovers in this opening Group F encounter.
Gerado Martino’s team excelled in qualification and have a number of dangerous forward players, most notably Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz.
Premier League fans will also recognise Sunderland defender Paulo Da Silva and new Black Cats signing Cristian Riveros.
Ahead of the first match the Italians are expected to top this group, and are 4/7 with Coral to do so.
Italy v Paraguay is live on BBC1 with kick-off at 7.30pm.
Odds correct at time of writing and are subject to change