Buffon could be out for rest of Cup

ITALY goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon could miss the rest of the World Cup with a back problem after doctors said his recovery time was impossible to estimate after further tests yesterday.

ITALY goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon could miss the rest of the World Cup with a back problem after doctors said his recovery time was impossible to estimate after further tests yesterday.

The 2006 World Cup winner 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 32-year-old is out of Sunday's game against New Zealand, will almost certainly not play in the final group match with Slovakia and could miss more.

"Certainly on Sunday he can't be on the field," said Italy team doctor Enrico Castellacci.

Injury-prone Buffon, who has suffered a similar problem in the past, was substituted at half time on Monday. Inexperienced keeper Federico Marchetti, who replaced Buffon on Monday, is now poised to start on Sunday in Nelspruit. - Reuters

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