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Jun 14, 2014

Gianluigi Buffon out of England clash

Italy will face England in their opening Group D match without veteran keeper Gigi Buffon.

Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon has confirmed that he has been ruled out of his side's World Cup opener against England with an ankle injury.

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England v Italy: 50-50 Challenge
- Cox: Heat and Pirlo will stifle England

The two nations meet in Manaus on Saturday in the Group D clash, but the Azzurri will be without their first-choice goalkeeper after he picked up the knock in training.

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Italy coach Cesare Prandelli confirmed on Friday that Buffon, a key member of the 2006 World Cup-winning side, had sustained the injury, but played it down as "nothing serious."

However, the Juventus player himself confirmed on Saturday via his official Twitter account that he will sit out the game against England.

"Good day to everyone..." Buffon wrote.

"Life is beautiful and I am still indebted to her... It won't be a missed game or another World Cup missed out to make me change my mind!!!

"Besides, there are many ways to be important, even if you're not a protagonist on the field... therefore... forza great Salvatore [Sirigu]... forza magical lads... FORZA ITALIA, my great love!!!"

Buffon's absence will be a big blow to an Italy side already without full-back Mattia de Sciglio through injury.

Italy's reserve goalkeepers are Sirigu of Paris Saint-Germain and Mattia Perin of Genoa, with Sirigu likely to get the nod on Saturday.

The PSG goalkeeper has won eight caps for his country, but played in just one competitive game -- a Euro 2012 qualifier against Estonia in 2010.

Sirigu, who started 37 out of 38 league games for the French champions last season, has missed several days of training recently due to bruised ribs.

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