Soccer: Italy's Antonelli out of Czech qualifier

Barzagli in doubt with Achilles problem

Soccer: Italy's Antonelli out of Czech qualifier

Florence, June 3 - Left back Luca Antonelli has been ruled out of Italy's World Cup qualifier in the Czech Republic on Friday with a muscle injury while centre back Andrea Barzagli is a doubt with an Achilles' tendon problem. Tests showed that Genoa defender Antonelli picked up an injury in Friday's 4-0 win over San Marino in a friendly which will sideline him for 10-15 days, the Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) said. The FIGC said Juventus player Barzagli will have a fitness test later on Monday to check a problem with his right Achilles'. AC Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy is also having trouble with a knock he suffered in training but the Azzurri medical staff are "moderately optimistic" he will be fit for selection for the Czech game. FIGC Vice President Demetrio Albertini said the federation was in "constant contact" with FIFA and the Czech Soccer Association amid fears that Friday's match could be affected by the wave of extreme weather that has hit central Europe. Victory in Friday's match in Prague would put the Azzurri close to qualifying for next year's World Cup in Brazil. Italy lead European World Cup qualifying group B with 13 points from five games, three points more than second-placed Bulgaria, who have played six matches. The Czechs are third with eight points from five games. Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is set to announce his squad for this month's Confederations Cup in Brazil later on Monday.

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