Days after suffering a brutal semifinal loss to Spain at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, Italy has been dealt another major blow as veteran midfielder Andrea Pirlo has been ruled out of Sunday's third-place match against Uruguay with an injury according to Jack Prescott of the U.K.'s SportsMole.com.
Prescott doesn't elaborate on the injury, but does report that Pirlo is suffering from a "muscular problem."
While Cesare Prandelli and Italy are likely more deflated about their gut-wrenching loss to Spain than they are worried about Sunday's consolation clash with La Celeste, this loss is a critical one for the four-time World Cup champions.
After all, star striker Mario Balotelli has already returned to Europe after suffering a thigh injury earlier in the tournament.
Pirlo has made over 100 appearances with the Italian national team dating back to 2002, helping the Azzurri win the World Cup in Germany in 2006.
The 34-year-old scored one goal and assisted on another during group play earlier this month in Brazil. He also scored his penalty kick against Spain in their dramatic semifinal showdown on Thursday.
Sunday's match may not feel all that important for an international powerhouse like Italy, but this is only the Azzurri's second appearance at the FIFA Confederations Cup. Pirlo and company came up short in their first-ever trip to this tournament in South Africa back in 2009, failing to get out of the group stage.
A win this weekend would give Italy some key momentum to build off of with more World Cup qualifying matches still ahead.
Italy is scheduled to take on Uruguay inside Arena Fonte Nova in the third-place match at the Confederations Cup on Sunday. That match is set for 12 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN2.
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