London: Italy's World Cup plans were thrown into turmoil as Riccardo Montolivo suffered a broken leg during a 0-0 draw against the Republic of Ireland on Saturday.

Montolivo made seven appearances for the Azzurri during their World Cup qualifying campaign and was set to be a key member of Cesare Prandelli’s side in Brazil. But the AC Milan midfielder’s injury early in the first half of the friendly at Fulham’s Craven Cottage means he will be unable to feature in south America.

“First all our thoughts are with Riccardo. It is too emotional now,” Prandelli said. “Every one is broken and really sad about what happened. Montolivo is a key player for this squad.”

To make matters worse for Prandelli, he also saw midfielder Alberto Aquilani, who had come on for Montolivo, forced off with an injury.