Italy centre back Andrea Barzagli will remain in their Euro 2012 squad after coach Cesare Prandelli and medics decided he would be available for some of the tournament despite a calf problem.
“The scan this morning showed a noticeable improvement in the player’s calf,” Italy team doctor Enrico Castellacci was quoted as saying by ANSA.
“We have decided to keep him, he won’t be available for the first two matches but we will try to get him fit for the third. There is silent optimism.”
Defender Davide Astori had been flown in as cover in case Barzagli has now been sent home.
Huge gamble by Prandelli and the medical staff, as they are basically banking on getting out of the group stages.
Italy, who face holders Spain in their Group C opener in Poland’s Gdansk on Sunday, are set to use a new system with three at the back and midfielder Daniele De Rossi playing in the centre of defence, partly because of Barzagli’s injury.
“You are not talking with a central defender,” a smiling De Rossi told reporters. “You are talking with a player who is willing, that knows how to adapt and to accept everything.
“Maybe I could become the best defender in the world.”