Match-Up: Paraguay (Win or Draw) vs. Italy (Win)

The last time Italy participated in the World Cup, they went back home with the trophy in hand. After an emotional shoot out win over long-time rival France, the Italian claimed their fourth World Cup title. Their title defense begins this afternoon against a Paraguay club who is ranked 29th in the World. Italy is ranked fifth by FIFA.

Even though Italy is the defending champion, they had a difficult time qualifying for the World Cup. They had trouble against Cyprus, but secured a two-two tie against Ireland to clinch their trip to South Africa.

Italy will return only nine of their 2006 championship team, but bring along 23 fresh, young talented players.

Since Italy is highly touted and boasts a mix of old and young talent, I think they’ll win their opening round match.

The Pick: Italy (Win)

June Record: 6-7

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