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Italy, Paraguay draw; Buffon exits at halftime

GIANLUIGI BUFFON Team: Italy Position: Goalkeeper Buffon, 32,

GIANLUIGI BUFFON
Team: Italy
Position: Goalkeeper

Buffon, 32, is the face of the reigning World Cup champions. The Juventus star has won the Serie A's Goalkeeper of the Year award a record eight times and is considered by many to be the top stopper in the world. Buffon made his international debut in 1997 and was Itlay's back-up keeper in the 1998 World Cup before taking over full-time duties soon thereafter.

In the 2006 World Cup, Buffon did not allow an opposing player to score during the run of play in all seven matches -- a total of 690 minutes. The "Azzurri" only allowed two goals all tournament -- an own goal against the United States and a penalty kick against France in the final.

Credit: Getty Images

The defending World Cup champions exited halftime with a one-goal deficit and without one of the most famous goalies in the world. Forty-five minutes later, the Italians had earned a point against Paraguay, and they'll take it.

On a rainy evening in Cape Town, Daniele De Rossi scored the equalizer in the 63rd minute when Paraguay keeper Justo Villar took a swipe at the ball and came up empty. Paraguay took the surprising lead in the 39th minute on a superb header by Antolin Alcaraz.

At halftime, Gianluigi Buffon was subbed out for Federico Marchetti. Early reports on ESPN's telecast indicate that Buffon is dealing with a hamstring problem.

Though things looked dicey for Italy for much of the contest, they just played their toughest match, so the four-time champs shouldn't worry about advancing. Italy and Paraguay both return to action Sunday. The Italians take on New Zealand, which is widely considered one of the two worst teams in the tournament. Paraguay takes on Slovakia.

In other news ...

-- The biggest news of the day seems to focus on the fans, rather than the games. FIFA officials will not seek to ban the deafening vuvuzelas that have been driving some players and spectators mad.

-- Ivory Coast captain and striker Didier Drogba is amazingly still hopeful to play in his team's opener Tuesday, despite breaking his elbow in a friendly against Japan June 4.

-- England's Ledley King, on the other hand, may not see another World Cup minute after injuring his groin against the U.S.

-- Speaking of U.S.-England, you need to check out the goal highlights, as re-enacted by a bunch of legos. The Green gaffe is priceless.

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