Tuesday May 31 2011
Balotelli injury scare for Italy

Mario Balotelli is “unlikely to recover” from a knee injury in time for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Estonia, said Italy medical staff.

The Manchester City striker lasted only 13 minutes of today's test match with Italy's Under-18 side when he limped off with a right knee problem.

“Balotelli suffered a relapse of the pain in the right knee that had already troubled him in the past,” explained Professor Enrico Castellacci.

“It was a small sprain of the right knee. It'll be difficult to get him back by Friday, so he's unlikely to recover in time to face Estonia.

“Between today and tomorrow we will evaluate whether to keep him in the squad or send him home.”

Along with Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier in Modena, Balotelli risks missing next week's friendly with the Republic of Ireland.

Cesare Prandelli tested out a 4-3-1-2 system this afternoon with Andrea Pirlo in his habitual role in front of the defence, Alberto Aquilani as trequartista behind Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi.

It proved a good pairing, as Villarreal hitman Rossi scored three goals in the first half and Cassano a fourth.

There were numerous changes for the second half, which saw Alberto Gilardino's brace, Alessandro Matri and a Sebastian Giovinco penalty for the final 8-0 result.

However, Prandelli did not allow the Inter and Palermo players to take part in the game, as they are still resting after Sunday night's Coppa Italia Final.

Italy starting XI: Buffon; Maggio, Gamberini, Chiellini, Criscito; Montolivo, Pirlo, Marchisio; Aquilani; Rossi, Cassano