YEREVAN, Armenia (Sporting Alert) — Striker Mario Balotelli has been ruled out of Italy’s World Cup 2014 qualifier against Armenia on Friday because of a fever.
The Manchester City player was set to start the game after being included in Cesare Prandelli’s side announced on Thursday.
However, the Italian football federation is now announcing on its website that the forward will sit this game out.
Balotelli was hoping to feature in the game at Armenia after missing Italy’s the last two qualifiers against Bulgaria and Malta, following a laser eye surgery last month.
Juventus forward Sebastian Giovinco will now partner Roma’s Pablo Osvaldo in the attack, while Prandelli is keeping his fingers cross that Balotelli will be back for the next Group B qualifier against Denmark in Milan on Tuesday.
Italy are current Group B leaders alongside Bulgaria – with both sides collecting four points so far.
Armenia sits third in the group with three points from two games and will be gunning for an upset on Friday.