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Andrea Pirlo was injured during a friendly with Mexico last week and Italy is hoping he can return in time for the Azzurri's third World Cup group game against Slovakia. ((Claudio Villa/Getty Images) )

Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo has had another medical test on his injured left calf and the results appear positive.

Team physician Enrico Castellacci described the outcome of Thursday's MRI as "encouraging."

Pirlo was injured during a friendly with Mexico last week and Italy is hoping he can return in time for the Azzurri's third World Cup group game against Slovakia.

Coach Marcello Lippi brought Andrea Cossu to South Africa as cover for the 23-man squad in case Pirlo's injury took a turn for the worse but it now appears Pirlo can remain in the squad.

Teams have up to 24 hours before their opening World Cup match to replace injured players.

Italy opens Group F play against Paraguay on Monday.