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World Cup 2010: Italy Midfielder Andrea Pirlo Sidelined For 15-20 Days

Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo has suffered a calf injury and looks set to miss, at the very least, his side's first two 2010 World Cup matches.
The AC Milan star left the Italy training camp in Sestriere after picking up a knock to his calf and will not be available for tomorrow's friendly against Switzerland, the Azzurri's last official preparation match before their World Cup campaign kicks off on June 14 against Paraguay.

Initial reports claimed Pirlo would miss the entire tournament, however medical staff have revealed the injury is not as bad as first feared and that he may be back in time for Italy's final goup match with Slovakia.

“The player will be monitored daily. This problem is expected to rule him out for 15-20 days but it depends on personal circumstances,” said team doctor Enrico Castellacci. A layout of 20 days would see him miss the Slovakia match but return in time for a possbile second round fixture.

“We think that he could make it back for a few games, the coach will make the final decision after we give our medical advice.”

Despite an underpar year with the Rossoneri, Pirlo is arguably the most important player in coach Marcello Lippi's side in terms of offence and their main source of creativity. He was one of the best players in Italy's triumphant run at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Pirlo is ranked at 331 in the Castrol Rankings.

How will Group F go? Check out Castrol Football's 2010 FIFA World Cup Group Predictor.