• Euro 2012

Balotelli injury scare for Italy ahead of quarters

ESPN staff
June 23, 2012

Mario Balotelli sent a scare through the Italy camp at training on Friday, but the striker has been passed fit to take on England in Sunday's Euro 2012 quarter-final.

Balotelli left the pitch early, clutching at his back, as Italy trained ahead of the clash in Kiev. The Manchester City man later shrugged off the incident, and Italy team doctor Enrico Castellacci then cleared Balotelli of any serious damage after assessing the complaint.

"Balotelli got some small pain in his back but will be fit," Castellacci said.

Meanwhile, midfielder Thiago Motta will undergo a medical on Saturday as he races the clock be fit to face England. Motta has started all three matches for the Azzurri at this year's European Championship but is struggling with a hamstring strain, while defender Giorgio Chiellini has been ruled out.

"Chiellini is improving a lot but he will not be ready for England. Motta is training and we will assess him. We do not know if he can face England," said Castellacci.

Should Motta fail his fitness test, Riccardo Montolivo is likely to replace him in the starting XI, with Antonio Nocerino and Alessandro Diamanti also in the running.

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