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Page last updated at 13:13 GMT, Thursday, 10 June 2010 14:13 UK

World Cup 2010: Italy's Andrea Pirlo out for two games

Andrea Pirlo
Pirlo helped Italy to the World Cup success in 2006

Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo is set to miss his country's first two World Cup group games against Paraguay and New Zealand, with a calf strain.

The 31-year-old, who helped Italy win the tournament in 2006, is set to be replaced by Riccardo Montolivo.

"Pirlo is a special player," said the 25-year-old Fiorentina player.

"There are two or three Italian players that can play in his position when he is missing. I have played in Pirlo's position this season."

He added: "In 2006, I watched the World Cup on TV, now I am here. This is the most important tournament in my career and I am thrilled.


"The experience of playing in the Champions League this year has given me added confidence and I am ready to have a say."

AC Milan playmaker Pirlo, named man of the match in the 2008 final against France, could return in time for the Azzurri's final Group F match against Slovakia on 24 June.

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see also
Pirlo the dangerman warns Hodgson
23 May 05 |  Europe
Pirlo condemns Aussies to defeat
13 Sep 00 |  Football
Pirlo pledges future to AC Milan
05 Aug 09 |  Chelsea
Pirlo's penalty puts Italy in control
17 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES Gattuso announces retirement, looks to coaching - 23 mins ago
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