World Cup Qualifying Game Time Thread: Italy vs. Czech Republic

Ronald Martinez

Gianluigi Buffon has called today's World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic as a combination of his two great loves, Italy and Juventus. It makes sense, not that I rarely disagree with anything that San Gigi says to begin with. "They are both stories of great love, passion and affection that mapped out my life, where I met many wonderful people, experienced victories and defeats," Buffon said a few days before he was to step foot on the Juventus Stadium field for one of the biggest achievements in his career.

Fast forward a few days, the chance to get cap No. 136 has arrived.

For 16 years Gigi Buffon has been part of the Italian national team in some capacity. For the majority of that, he has been their starting goalkeeper, making spectacular save after spectacular save along the way. From a teenager to now a 35-year-old, Buffon's career will come full circle tonight when he ties Fabio Cannvaro's record for most appearances in an Italy jersey.

And it will come at a place he has called home for the past two-plus years.

Italy and Juventus Stadium will come together for the first time. And with history to be made on the grounds of the crown-jewel of Italian football stadiums and World Cup qualification so incredibly close to being locked up, a special night in Turin is quite possibly impossible to avoid.

Sounds like a pretty good combination, huh?

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Yeah, I think so, too.

And I don't think we're going to be surprised as to who Cesare Prandelli pencils in as his starting goalkeeper. It's only been done over 100 times before.

UPDATE: LINEUPS ARE IN!

Italy XI (3-4-2-1): Buffon; Bonucci, De Rossi, Chiellini; Maggio, Montolivo, Pirlo, Pasqual; Candreva, Giaccherini; Balotelli

Czech Republic XI (4-4-2): Cech; Gebre Selassie, Sivok, Suchy, Limbersky; Prochazka; Plasil, Darida, Rosicky; Jiracek, Kozak

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