Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has reportedly been ruled out of the opening game of Group D in the 2014 FIFA World Cup due to an ankle injury.
Gazzetta dello Sport state that the most senior of the Azzurri custodians will not be able to take part in his side’s first match after twisting his ankle in training, meaning that one of Salvatore Sirigu or Mattia Perrin will play in his stead.
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) June 14, 2014
Buffon, who is 36 years of age, will have a fitness test as late as possible prior to kickoff, but is not expected to be able to play a part.
Sirigu and Perrin are both fine goalkeepers, but there is a vast difference in experience between them and Buffon.
Italy’s number one has 140 caps for his country, and captains the side, while Sirigu, 27, has just eight – only one of which came in a competitive game.
Perrin has yet to play a game for Italy’s senior side.
Intriguingly, Sirigu is not at his peak either according to Eurosport, as he is still suffering from bruised ribs.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli now has a major decision on his hands, but any choice will provide confidence to England’s attackers – whether a player not at 100% fitness or a rookie is selected.
Buffon is expected to be fit to return for Italy’s other games against Costa Rica and Uruguay.