Balotelli out of Confederations Cup semifinal

Fortaleza (Brazil), June 24 (IANS) Mario Balotelli has been ruled out of Italy's Confederations Cup semifinal against Spain here Thursday with a thigh injury.

The 22-year-old AC Milan striker strained his left quadriceps during Italy's 2-4 loss to Brazil in Salvador Saturday. A scan of the injury Sunday confirmed he would not be fit in time for the duel with the World Champions at the Castelao Stadium. Italy's physician Enrico Castellacci said Balotelli could also be in doubt for next Sunday's final, should the Azzurri progress, reports Xinhua.

"It's an injury that we have to be careful with but we are going to evaluate him on a daily basis," Castellacci said Sunday night.

Italy have already lost Ignazio Abate for the rest of the tournament with a dislocated shoulder while Andrea Pirlo (calf) and Riccardo Montolivo (concussion) will be assessed before the clash with Spain.

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