Italy get Barzagli boost ahead of Croatia match

Italy’s chances of qualifying through Group C have been handed a boost with defender Andrea Barzagli’s recovery from a calf injury going better than expected, reports FIGC.

The 31-year-old Juventus defender has been suffering from a calf injury since the defeat to Russia in the Italian side’s last warm-up match before the competition, and it was widely expected that he would miss his team’s three Group C games. However Italian team doctor Enrico Castellacci reported good news.

Castellacci told “We will try to get him ready for the match against Ireland. We hope we can, and things are going for the better”. With Cesare Prandelli’s squad involved in a fairly balanced group, Barzagli’s availability could be important in the last group game against Ireland.

The Azzurri centre-back’s injury had forced Prandelli’s to fly Cagliari defender Davide Astori to their Euro base in Poland as a precautionary measure, however it now seems as if the 25-year-old will not be needed should Barzagli recover as expected.

The Italian players came through the draw with Spain relatively unscathed, and will go onto the next group game against Croatia looking for a win that could put them above Slaven Bilic’s side, who claimed top spot following their win against Ireland.

Club doctor Castellacci confirmed there were no injury concerns other than Barzagli saying: “As far as the rest of the group is concerned, nothing serious, slight muscular problems after a match like the one played on Sunday. Some player is more tired than others, but everything is ok”.

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