Author: Tony MacDonald
Published: 11:24 02/06/2014
Italy have been dealt a double injury blow ahead of the World Cup with both Guiseppe Rossi and Riccardo Montolivo left out of their 23-man squad for the tournament in Brazil.
Head coach Cesare Prandelli is known to be a keen admirer of former Manchester United and Villarreal striker Rossi and has given him every chance to prove his fitness following a serious knee injury in January. However despite playing for 70 minutes in Azzuri's 0-0 draw with Ireland at Craven Cottage on Saturday, the injury-plagued Fiorentina forward has been deemed too big a risk ahead of the tournament.
While Rossi was perhaps always a doubt, Riccardo Montolivo's withdrawal from the competition was a lot more sudden as the Milan captain suffered a fractured shinbone on Saturday, ruling him out of the tournament entirely. Montolivo is an important player for Italy, but the news of his injury appears to have had little effect on Italy's odds to win Group D with Bet365 still quoting a top price of 13/8.
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Italy's injury setback could be seen good news for England ahead of the sides meeting in Manaus on June 14th, but Prandelli has adequate cover in midfield and will rely on Mario Balotelli to lead the attack. The former Manchester City striker is now a 7/4 chance to be Italy's top goalscorer in the tournament with Paddy Power and Betway.