Saturday June 14 2014
Buffon out, Sirigu starts

Gianluigi Buffon is out of Italy’s World Cup opener with England tonight, so Salvatore Sirigu starts in goal.

The captain pulled up during last night’s training session at the Arena Amazonia in Manaus with a sprained left ankle.

He underwent physiotherapy both yesterday and again this morning, but the fitness tests performed in the hotel gym were not reassuring.

Italy medical staff have advised him not to play this evening, as there are also concerns the sprain might’ve spread to the knee and thigh muscle.

If it proves to be a more serious injury, Buffon cannot be replaced, as players can only be brought in until 24 hours before the opening game.

It’s reported Buffon sustained the injury during a practice goal kick.

This means Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Sirigu gets the nod in only his ninth cap, the second competitive match for Italy.

His only other tournament game was a 2-1 Euro 2012 qualifying victory away to Estonia in September 2010.

The Azzurri must also do without the injured Mattia De Sciglio, who has a thigh problem, while Riccardo Montolivo and Giuseppe Rossi pulled out before the tournament began.

Probable line-ups

England: Hart; Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines; Gerrard, Henderson; Lallana, Rooney, Welbeck; Sturridge

Italy: Sirigu; Darmian, Barzagli, Paletta, Chiellini; De Rossi; Candreva, Pirlo, Verratti, Marchisio; Balotelli