Earlier today, the news broke that Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon had injured his ankle during training, and needed tests to determine whether he would be able to start against England.
The reports are in, and the news isn’t good for the azzurri. The ‘keeper, who’s been first-choice for his country for over a decade, will sit out Italy’s first match.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli first described the injury as a light twist, but after undergoing physiotherapy, the injury was revealed to be more serious than previously thought. There is no word yet on whether Buffon will be available for the game against Costa Rica next Friday, or the final group stage game, against Uruguay, next Tuesday.
In absence of Buffon, Prandelli will deploy Salvatore Sirigu between the sticks. Sirigu has experience at the highest levels, as the starting goalkeeper for Paris Saint-Germain, but he’s also been dealing with injury. His bruised ribs aren’t enough to prompt Italy to turn to Mattia Perin, however. The 21-year-old, who plays for Genoa, has yet to be capped for Italy.
Italy are also without Riccardo Montolivo, who broke his leg in the warm-up match against Ireland and had to be cut from the squad, and Mattia De Sciglio, who was injured in training earlier in the week. Without three of their expected starting XI, will Italy stumble? Or are they strong enough to overcome England?
Tottenham Hotspur’s depth means it can wait out Everton as the Toffees demand plenty of money for young star Ross Barkley.
The 23-year-old England international won’t sign a new deal with Everton, and Ronald Koeman has been clear that he’s ready to cash in on the wantaway midfielder.
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Spurs are interested according to Sky Sports, but rolling their eyes at a requested fee of close to $64 million. So the North Londoners will wait, a move that makes sense given Barkley’s up-and-down form.
The Liverpool Echo says that Koeman is close to making it official with Sandro Ramirez, as the ex-Barcelona prospect will join Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen as new Toffees in a $7 million deal.
The BBC says Koeman will quickly move onto two more transfers, aiming to woo Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea City and center back Michael Keane from Burnley.
The Manchester Evening News says Manchester United is close to reuniting Jose Mourinho with defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic.
The tough-minded Serbian turns 29 in August, and would give Mourinho flexibility with Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera. United also has Michael Carrick as a deep-lying option.
Matic has 121 Premier League appearances and two titles since returning to Chelsea in January 2014.
BERLIN (AP) The German soccer federation is mulling a proposal to allow China’s under-20 team to play friendly matches in the fourth tier of its league system.
Because the Southwest Regional League is comprised of 19 clubs, each currently has two match-days free that can be used for friendly games. The one-off action would allow China’s under-20 team to prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
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“Nothing has been fixed yet but the clubs are all in favor,” league president Felix Wiedemann told The Associated Press on Thursday. “There’s a lot of interest in it. It’s important to say that there will be no points at stake, so it won’t influence the outcome of the league.”
Clubs would receive about 15,000 euros ($16,700) in compensation for two home games against the Chinese side, if the plan is approved. The Chinese are planning on a base near Heidelberg in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
Southwest Regional League members are meeting on July 11, when a decision will likely be made in consultation with the German soccer federation, Wiedemann said. The league kicks off at the end of the month.
China and Germany agreed to a five-year soccer partnership last November, aimed at developing the game in China with training and other programs.
Australia and Cameroon fight for their Confederations Cup lives on Thursday at 11 a.m.ET live on Telemundo Deportes.
[ WATCH LIVE: Cameroon vs. Chile on Telemundo Deportes ]
Cameroon will have its top attacker in the form of Vincent Aboubakar in its bid to overcome an opening loss to Chile, while Australia will hope goalkeeper Maty Ryan can get the job done following a 3-2 loss to Germany.
Germany and Chile square off at 2 p.m. ET.
Multiple reports claim Crystal Palace has offered its managerial position to Dutch boss Frank De Boer.
Palace has been without a manager since Sam Allardyce retired after the season. The Eagles finished 15th in the Premier League, five points behind eighth place Southampton and seven points clear of the drop zone.
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An accomplished defender at Ajax and Barcelona, the 47-year-old De Boer led Ajax in his first managerial stint before spending less than three months at Inter Milan last season.
De Boer twice won the Rinus Michels Award as the top manager in Dutch football, and would become just the second Palace manager from outside the British Isles.
He would inherit a very good group of attackers with Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, and Andros Townsend. Palace also has a talented midfielders Luka Milivojevic and Yohan Cabaye to go with marauding Dutch back Patrick Van Aanholt.