Italy 1, Paraguay 1
Cape Town, South Africa — Italy opened defense of its World Cup title with an underwhelming, rain-soaked draw with Paraguay on Monday.
Paraguay defender Antolin Alcaraz scored on a header in the 39th minute of the Group F match. Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi equalized from close range in the 63rd after a miscue by goalkeeper Justo Villar.
Already without injured midfielder Andrea Pirlo, Italy’s fortunes took another hit when it lost perhaps its most valuable player, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, after the first half. The 32-year-old Buffon was removed in favor of inexperienced backup Federico Marchetti due to an apparent back problem.
Netherlands 2, Denmark 0
Johannesburg — The Netherlands scored on an own goal and beat Denmark even though its dangerous attack was stymied for much of the game.
The Dutch took the lead in the 46th minute when Denmark defender Simon Poulsen headed a ball off the back of teammate Daniel Agger and into the net. Poulsen was trying to clear a cross from Robin van Persie.
Dirk Kuyt doubled the lead in the 85th when he tapped in a rebound off the post from close range.
Japan 1, Cameroon 0
Bloemfontein, South Africa — Keisuke Honda scored in the first half to lead Japan over uninspired Cameroon in Group E.
The win is Japan’s first at the World Cup on foreign soil, and puts the Japanese at the top of Group E along with the Netherlands.