Reporting from Johannesburg — Gianluigi Buffon, the starting goalkeeper for world champion Italy, Wednesday was diagnosed with a herniated disk in his back and might not be able to play again in the World Cup.
"We'll do everything we can to get him back, but don't ask me for a prognosis of when," said Enrico Castellacci, the team's doctor.
Buffon, who had an MRI in Pretoria, will definitely not be available for Sunday's game against New Zealand and proably will miss the Azzurri's third game of the first round, against Slovakia.
"It's a very small hernia, but even a small hernia can create a lot of pain," Castellacci said.
Backup Federico Marchetti is now Italy's starter.
Italy received better news regarding playmaker Andrea Pirlo, who is almost ready to return from a calf injury.
Red card appeal
Australia's top player, Tim Cahill, was red-carded in the Socceroos' 4-0 opening-game loss to Germany for a foul on Bastian Schweinsteiger. He faces a mandatory one-game suspension, but Australia on Wednesday appealed to FIFA not to make it any longer so that Cahill can play in its final first-round match, against Serbia. A decision is expected Thursday.
More hooligans deported
South Africa has been intercepting known Argentine hooligans and deporting them almost as soon as they land, but many have slipped through the cracks.
On Wednesday, police raided a place in Pretoria where 165 Argentine fans were staying and arrested 17 of them. All were being readied for deportation after "generally causing trouble," police said.
Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, arrived in South Africa on Wednesday to promote the 2012 Olympic Games and immediately stepped into the nation's loudest controversy.
"I'm not convinced that we are going to need an Olympic vuvuzela," Johnson said. "It's a wonderful thing. It's a beautiful instrument. It's very easy to master, but I don't think we'll necessarily be issuing them to the crowds."
Eriksson wants ball summit
Sven-Goran Eriksson, who used to be the coach of England and later Mexico and who now coaches the Ivory Coast, wants something done about the World Cup ball.
He has called for a summit of players and coaches to make their feelings known to FIFA.
"I can understand that goalkeepers are not happy," Eriksson said, "and I think the authorities should listen to them. . . . Players, coaches and perhaps top goalkeepers should get together. Especially, people should listen to the goalkeepers' point of view, because the ball isn't doing them any favors."
If South Africa seems to still be a little behind in preparing for a World Cup that is already underway, Brazil already is behind schedule for the 2014 tournament.
On Wednesday, tournament organizers bounced Sao Paulo's 50-year-old Morumbi Stadium out of its plans, even though it was supposed to be the site of one semifinal, among other games. They said local government had failed to come up with financial guarantees to ensure that a planned $135-million refurbishment of the stadium would take place.
Brazil was awarded the tournament in 2007, but three years later has done little in terms of preparation. Jerome Valcke, FIFA's general secretary, last month said Brazil had already missed deadlines on several projects.