Gianluigi Buffon is a legend for Italy. Buffon has over 140 international appearances with the Italian national team and he has had success before with Italy. Although it feels like centuries ago, Buffon helped Italy win the 2006 World Cup.
Unfortunately, in Italy’s last training session until their match with England, Buffon went down with a twisted ankle and there may be some knee complications as well. The biggest thing with Buffon’s absence is that the Italians will miss their most experienced player. With a young defense, having a player behind you goalkeeping who has already won a World Cup is extremely important.
With the news of Buffon, Paris Saint-Germain‘s Salvatore Sirigu will get the start. In Sirigu’s career with Italy, he has had only eight caps, but Sirigu is the clear successor to Buffon when the latter retires. Although the loss of Buffon is a killer, Sirigu is a capable goalie and the youngster will have a chance to shine as Italy’s goalkeeper for the next four games.
The problem with Sirigu is that he has been hampered with injuries as well. Sirigu has had problems with his hips and if he dives for a ball, something could happen where Sirigu would have to be taken out. If that happens, Italy’s goalkeeper would be Mattia Perin, who has never had a cap.
Against a young England team, Sirigu will have a chance to turn some heads. England is the best team Italy will play in Group D, but Uruguay and Costa Rica have the ability to beat the Italians as well if Sirigu doesn’t step up. The Italians will need even bigger games from Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano on the offensive end. Although he is still young and inexperienced, Sirigu will be just fine and the Italians should not worry.