Defending champions take on tricky South American opposition in Cape Town.
Italy playmaker Andrea Pirlo arrived in South Africa with a calf injury that is likely to prevent him from playing before the final group game against Slovakia.
Midfielder Daniele De Rossi should overcome a similar problem to start against Paraguay, while winger Mauro Camoranesi is available after a knee problem.
Marcello Lippi has tried various formations in training, but is expected to opt for a 4-3-3 system, with Alberto Gilardino the central striker.
Paraguay target man Oscar Cardozo has shaken off an ankle injury and is likely to be on the bench.
Argentine-born forward Lucas Barrios will start up front after impressing in warm-up games. If the Paraguayans opt for 4-4-2, he will partner Manchester City’s Roque Santa Cruz. (BBC Sport)
Marcello Lippi’s Italian side start their defence of the World Cup with a potentially tricky fixture against a Paraguay side who finished just one point behind leaders Brazil in the South American World Cup Qualifying campaign.
Italy go into the match in Cape Town with a number of injury concerns and if they lose Pirlo and De Rossi they may have some serious issues in the midfield. Opting to play one up front, Alberto Gilardino, could prove problematic given the oppositions stubborn back line who managed to keep clean sheets against Brazil and Argentina in qualifying.
The Italian nation will be expecting their side to coast to victory in this one but it may take some time to break down their opponents who also offer a very real attacking threat with the likes of Dortmund’s Barrios and Manchester City’s Santa Cruz up front.
Highlights of recent warm up games the two teams have taken part in.
Italy 1-2 Mexico
Greece 0-2 Paraguay