Gianluigi Buffon set to miss Italy's clash with England through ankle injury

Claudio Villa

Italy goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon looks set to miss their World Cup opener against England on Saturday.

Italy goalkeeper, captain and all-time most-capped player Gianluigi Buffon looks set to miss out on the Azzurri's World Cup opener against England in Manaus on Saturday. The veteran twisted his ankle in training badly enough that backup goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu will be called upon against the Three Lions.

Buffon tweeted confirmation that he'd likely skip the game, and encouragement for his replacement Sirigu. Fortunately, however, Azzurri coach Cesare Prandelli has been quoted as saying the injury isn't serious:

"He twisted his ankle very lightly. It was a very, very light ankle twist. He is receiving therapy at the moment, but it is nothing serious."

Even if Buffon does miss out against England, it sounds like he could be back for their remaining matches. Sirigu is certainly an excellent backup -- and would probably get in England's starting lineup -- though the intangible qualities of on-field leadership and defensive organisation will be what they could miss in Buffon's absence.

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