Italy have been dealt a big blow ahead of their Euro 2016 quarter-final with Germany, as midfielder Daniele De Rossi is set to be sidelined for the Saturday clash with a calf injury.
Continue for updates.
Sturaro to Stand In as De Rossi Replacement
Wednesday, June 29
Reuters (via Eurosport) reported on Wednesday that De Rossi will be out for the quarter-final, adding that Stefano Sturaro will step in as De Rossi's replacement.
Sky Sports News' Kaveh Solhekol outlined the potential importance of his absence:
De Rossi, 32, was substituted with a problem in the second half of Italy's excellent 2-0 win over Spain in the round of 16 and replaced by Thiago Motta.
In the 36 minutes he played, Motta was given a yellow card, his second of the tournament, and is now suspended for the encounter with world champions Germany in Bordeaux, France.
Thus, manager Antonio Conte will play Sturaro as deputy in central midfield.
The 23-year-old played all 90 minutes in Italy's 1-0 loss to the Republic of Ireland in Group E, and his only other tournament action in France so far was five minutes in the Azzurri's 1-0 defeat of Sweden.
However, he has experience playing in big matches with his club team, Juventus. Per Italian football expert David Amoyal, he "came up huge" for the Old Lady as they got past Real Madrid in the 2015 UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
It is currently unclear when De Rossi will return, but Conte will be desperate for him to get back to fitness for a potential semi-final match—most likely against hosts France—as his experience could be invaluable.
He has played a key role so far, and Italy have surprised many at Euro 2016 by defeating Spain and notching an impressive 2-0 victory over well-fancied Belgium in the group stages.