Gianluigi Buffon has failed to recover in time to be selected for Italy’s opening Group D match against England, with the 36-year-old injuring his ankle in training yesterday.
The Juventus keeper, who has been a mainstay in the Azzurri starting XI for the past decade, limped out of training yesterday, with the Italians claiming their skipper suffered a ‘light ankle sprain’.
The Italian manager, Cesare Prandelli, also attempted to play down fears that Buffon was hurt yesterday,
“He twisted his ankle very lightly,” said Prandelli, “It was a very, very light ankle twist.”
“He is receiving therapy at the moment, but it is nothing serious.”
The injury, however, seems to be more serious than first thought, with multiple sources confirming that Buffon will play no part in the match tonight, news that will give England a real boost going into the fixture.
According to the Guardian, Buffon underwent physiotherapy at the Italy base camp earlier today, but has not sufficiently recovered to be available for the game at the Arena Amazonia this evening.
To make matters worse, PSG shotstopper Salvatore Sirigu (Buffon’s deputy in Brazil) is not 100% fit, having earlier sustained bruising to his ribs, and if he is also ruled out, Prandelli is left with just the uncapped Genoa youngster Mattia Perin to start against England in Manaus.