Monday, November 29, 1999

Buffon fears his World Cup could be over

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Centurion, South Africa, June 16 (DPA) Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon fears that back problems could bring a premature end to his World Cup participation.'I am very worried about my World Cup,' the player told Italian daily 'La Gazzetta dello Sport' Wednesday.Losing the Juventus goalkeeper would be a major blow for the defending champions. 'Buffon is a unique player' said the president of the Italian Federation, Giancarlo Abete.The 32-year-old goalkeeper will have more tests today in a Pretoria clinic. The Italian team doctor Enrico Castellacci has diagnosed a sciatica problem but said: 'For the moment we cannot say when he will be back.'The fear is that he will not be able to return before the quarter-finals and many believe his World Cup is over. If he has to go home coach Marcello Lippi will call-up Palermo keeper Salvatore Sirigu.Buffon went off in Italy's first game against Paraguay, and was replaced by Cagliari keeper Federico Marchetti.

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