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Gianluigi Buffon Out Against England (And Italy's Anthem Won't Be The Same)

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GIANLUIGI BUFFON
Gianluigi Buffon of Italy in action during a training session on June 11, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images) | Claudio Villa via Getty Images
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"No Buffon" was not the trending term that Italy fans wanted to see on Twitter just hours before their team played its first match of the 2014 World Cup. But there it was on Saturday, gaining traction around the world.

Legendary Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will miss the team's opening match against England on Saturday, according to multiple reports. The 36-year-old goalkeeper was expected to start for Italy in his record-tying fifth trip to the World Cup.

Buffon, the Juventus goalkeeper and Italy captain, suffered an ankle injury during training on Friday, reported ESPN.Co.UK.

In a message shared on Twitter on Saturday, Buffon appeared to confirm the reports of his absence.

"Life is great," he wrote, as translated at FIFA.com, "and a missed match or another missed World Cup is not going to change my opinion on that !! And, even if you're not out on the pitch, there are other ways in which you can play an important role. So, go on Salvatore Sirigu !! Go on the lads !! Go on Italy !!"

With Buffon sidelined, Salvatore Sirigu would likely be between the posts for Italy. The 27-year-old Paris St-Germain goalkeeper was on the Italy squad for the 2010 World Cup but did not see any action. While Sirigu may prove up to the task as Buffon's replacement, he would be hard pressed to fill his shoes during the pre-match national anthem.

UPDATE 5:54 p.m. ET: Buffon is not in the lineup for Italy and Sirigu is getting the start.

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