17 Jun 2010

Italy keeper Buffon's World Cup at risk

6:36 am on 17 June 2010

Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will miss Monday's match against New zealand and could miss the rest of the World Cup with a back problem.

Doctors says his recovery time isimpossible to estimate following further tests overnight.

The 2006 World Cup winner, still widely regarded as one of the best keepers in the world, has a small herniated disc after suffering a sciatic nerve problem before Monday's 1-1 draw with Paraguay in Italy's Group F opener.

The injury-prone 32-year-old will almost certainly not play in the final group match with Slovakia on June 24

His replacement Federico Marchetti, is now poised to start against the All Whites for only his seventh cap.

Midfielder Andrea Pirlo will skip the New Zealand game as well, is on course to possibly be available for the Slovakia match.