Marseille, June 30: Injury-hit midfielder Daniele De Rossi is virtually certain to miss Italy's Euro 2016 quarter-final clash with world champions Germany on Saturday, the Azzurri's medical staff said.
De Rossi has been rock solid for Antonio Conte's side as they upset pre-tournament predictions to top Group E then sweep defending champions Spain aside on Monday.
De Rossi is suffering from a "serious right thigh injury" picked up in the 2-0 win over Spain. Italy team doctor Enrico Castellacci said the Roma midfielder is unlikely to return in time for Saturday's clash in Bordeaux.
"It's a very serious situation," said Castellacci. "We're trying everything to get him back in time. But we can't give any prognosis." The loss is a significant blow for Italy as they look to secure their bfirst Euros semi-final spot since 2000.
Their situation is not helped by the absence of Lazio winger Antonio Candreva. Candreva, one of Italy's top players in their impressive opening win over Belgium, suffered a hamstring injury in their second group game, a 1-0 win over Sweden. Castellacci said the player has been "working really hard" to be fit.
"He's made clear progress, but not enough to warrant his immediate return to the team. "He's getting better, but he's not cured yet." The absence of suspended midfielder Thiago Motta is a further headache for Conte as Italy look to extend their eight-match unbeaten record against Germany in major tournaments. Roma midfielder Alessandro Florenzi insisted Italy will not look for excuses if they lose.
"Excuses about not having such and such a player available, or about teams having one more day of rest than the others are all for losers," said Florenzi.
Conte said prior to the tournament he was determined to give all 23 squad players the chance to shine, and Motta's suspension could give Juventus midfielder Stefano Sturaro the chance to impress his old boss at the Turin club. While confidence is high after toppling Spain, Florenzi said Germany will be a far bigger challenge.
"All 23 of us can do this," he said. "We've already climbed some mountains here but (with Germany) we're facing Everest."