SALVADOR, Brazil (Sporting Alert) — Italy will be without experienced midfield playmaker Andrea Pirlo for today’s FIFA Confederation Cup Group A clash with Brazil at Arena Fonte Nova.
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The midfield maestro Pirlo will miss the game with a muscle injury, but Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli hopes to have him back for the semi-finals.
Team doctor Enrico Castellacci confirmed that the Juventus star will skip the final group match.
“We had an MRI that shows a calf strain,” said Castellacci.
“He will not play against the Selecao and now we have to work with him ahead of the semi-finals.”
Italy will also be without Daniele De Rossi, who is suspended after collecting two yellow cards.
The battling 4-3 victory over Japan took a lot of the Azzurra and Prandelli is focusing on having his men well rested ahead of the clash with the hosts.
“We had to work really hard in intense heat and it’s important that we get some rest now and recharge our batteries for the Brazil game,” he said.
“It was a brave win [Wednesday’s 4-3 defeat of Japan], but we’ll need to be much more organised and vigilant in the future.”
Brazil, led by attacker Neymar have looked very comfortable at the tournament so far, but is expected to face the toughest test in the group stage.
“We need to work on a few things but I’m very pleased with the spirit, unity and strength of the team,” said Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.
“The fans saw that too and we’re building a strong and solid team.”
The game is well setup for a Neymar v Mario Balotelli encounter, but we all know that both teams, blessed with lots of talents, have more to them than just those two superstars.