By DAN KARELL
An injury that was originally thought to likely keep Mario Balotelli out of Wednesday’s Confederations Cup semifinal vs. Spain looks set to keep him out of the rest of the tournament.
Balotelli was ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a thigh strain on Monday, expediting his return to Italy and leaving the Italian National Team without their lead forward for their 2012 European Championships final rematch. Italy manager Cesare Prandelli ultimately made the decision after discussing his options with the national team’s doctor, Enrico Castellacci.
Though Italy will be without Balotelli the rest of the way, the squad were given a boost with news that midfielder Ricardo Montolivo is back to fitness, while Prandelli said he was hopeful that Andrea Pirlo would be ready to go come Wednesday.
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SPAIN UNDER-20s WIN SECOND STRAIGHT
On Monday, the Spanish Under-20 team showed exactly why they are favorites to raise the trophy in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
In a defensive battle, the Spaniards held firm, taking down Ghana, 1-0, with an early goal from Real Madrid forward Jese Rodriguez, his third goal of the tournament. The win has qualified Spain for the knockout round of the competition with six points from their first two games.
Spain’s goal came in the 13th minute, when winger Dennis Suarez beat his man on the left side of the box, centering to a wide open Jese, who finished into an empty net. Ghana had numerous chances in the game but couldn’t find a way to knock the ball Spanish goalkeeper Daniel Sotres, who made six saves on the day.
TREZEGUET RELEASED BY RIVER PLATE
France World Cup winner David Trezeguet’s name was not among a 25-player squad named by Argentine club River Plate that they are going with for next season, meaning his time at the Buenos Aires club is over.
The 35-year-old forward spent the last two seasons at River, helping lead them to back to the Primera Division in 2011 and second place in this past season’s Torneo Final, that just wrapped up on Sunday. The Juventus legend scored 17 goals in his time at River, though nearly all of those came when the team was in the second division.
Now the question becomes the future destination of the previous World Cup and European Cup winner with France, or whether he could retire this summer.