Gianluigi Buffon, the captain of Italy and first-choice goalkeeper for the azzurri, will miss the match tonight against Denmark. Buffon has been struggling with a strain in his left thigh, but was eager to play at the San Siro. But after failing a late fitness test, he'll have to stand down and hope his side manage to retain the top of Group B in his absence.
Instead it will be Morgan De Sanctis that starts between the sticks for the Italians. Napoli's 35-year-old keeper is, according to certain football commentators, "unconventional." In other words, he manages to make even the most routine saves look like the climactic scene in a small-town theater production.
Dramatics aside, for the most part, De Sanctis is reliable. But Italy supporters are likely to suffer flashbacks of the friendly against Russia, in which De Sanctis came on in the second half only for Russia to score three goals. While much of the shambles was due to the unorganized defense in front of him, as well as a howler from Christian Maggio, De Sanctis did have problems commanding the backline, leading to at least one of the goals.
Such an error will be forgiven in a friendly, but when replacing San Gigi in a World Cup qualifier, De Sanctis will need to be no less than perfect.