Italy's star midfielder Andrea Pirlo will miss the final group match against Brazil at the Confederations Cup with a strained right leg muscle, adding to coach Cesare Prandelli's problems in the centre of the field.
Italy team physician Enrico Castellacci says he hopes Pirlo can return for the semifinals. But combined with the absence of Daniele De Rossi, who will also miss the Brazil game because of two yellow cards, it means coach Cesare Prandelli will have to overhaul his lineup.
Italy advanced with a4-3 win over Japan and is level with Brazil atop Group A heading into Saturday's match, which will determine the group winner.
The absences mean Alberto Aquilani, who only lasted 30 minutes against Japan, could return to the lineup, as could Antonio Candreva and Alessio Cerci.