Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo is making encouraging progress in his recovery from a calf problem.
The AC Milan ace was injured during a pre-World Cup warm-up match against Mexico last week.
Initial fears suggested he could be sidelined for a prolonged period of time, all but ending any hope he had of making an impact in South Africa.
National coach Marcello Lippi even drafted in Andrea Cossu as a 24th man just in case Pirlo failed to recover in time.
However, medical tests later showed that the problem was not too serious, with the experienced playmaker tipped to miss the opening two games.
That remains the target for Italy and Pirlo, with the results of his latest MRI scan giving cause for optimism.
Team doctor Enrico Castellacci called the outcome of Thursday's exam 'encouraging', suggesting the Milan maestro will soon be back in action.
Italy get their World Cup endeavours underway against Paraguay on Monday.
Source: Sky Sports