Italy's injury troubles mount
However, Denmark coach Morten Olsen, whose side is battling Bulgaria for the runner-up spot in Group B does not expect the four-time World Cup champions to be taking tomorrow’s qualifier in Copenhanen lightly.
Italy’s qualification for Brazil 2014 last month with two games to spare gave Prandelli the chance to further test emerging players like PSG midfielder Marco Verratti and Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne. Both, however, have joined a ‘doubtful’ list which already includes AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, who suffered an adductor injury in training earlier this week and did not train yesterday.
Italy’s chief doctor Enrico Castellacci said Balotelli’s availability would depend on how he recovered in the days leading up to tomorrow’s game. “We will evaluate him day to day. If he recovers quickly, he will be ready to play,” said Castellacci.
Scans also confirmed Verratti and Insigne had suffered hamstring injuries depriving Prandelli of a chance to name them in his starting line-up against a Denmark battling for its World Cup survival. With a seven-point cushion over second-placed Bulgaria, Italy will top Group B no matter their results tomorrow and Tuesday, when the Azzurri host Armenia in their final qualifier.