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Euro injury blow for Italian defense

  • AFP, Monday, June 4, 2012 2:44 PM

Italian central defender Andrea Barzagli is a major doubt for the European Championship that begins this week.

The 31-year-old Juventus star -- a member of Italy's 2006 World Cup winning squad -- suffered a torn calf muscle in training Monday and will miss the group stage at least, according to team doctor Enrico Castellacci.

"We will do our utmost so that he recovers in time, but that will be tough," said Castellaci. "What is for certain is that he will not be available for the group stage matches."
Barzagli, a title winner with VfL Wolfsburg in 2009 and with Juventus in Serie A last term, will undergo further scans on Friday to give Coach Cesare Prandelli a clearer idea as to whether he should replace him or not.

The injury to Barzagli is a major blow to Prandelli's plan to play three central defenders just as Juventus did last season. Should Barzagli be ruled out for the tournament then Prandelli is likely to call up Inter Milan's Andrea Ranocchia, who was one of the last cuts when Prandelli named his 23-man squad.


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