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Balotelli scare for qualified Italy

sports Updated: Oct 10, 2013 01:41 IST
Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli is a doubt for Italy’s penultimate World Cup qualifier away to Denmark after suffering an adductor injury in training, according to reports on Wednesday.

Balotelli was poised to line up for Cesare Prandelli’s side, which has already qualified for Brazil 2014, against Denmark on Friday and Armenia on Tuesday.

However the AC Milan striker remains a doubt for Friday’s Group B fixture. Early reports suggested Balotelli had suffered a knee injury but after undergoing scans he was diagnosed with a left adductor strain, according to domestic news agency ANSA.

Italy’s chief doctor Enrico Castellacci said Balotelli’s availability would depend on how he recovered in the days leading up to Friday’s game. Italy secured their ticket for the 2014 World Cup after a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic last month.

Already qualified

Nine countries have already joined host nation Brazil in next year’s World Cup and more will secure their places when qualifying resumes across the globe from Friday.

While Italy and the Netherlands were the first European sides to qualify. Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium are on the verge of making it heading into Friday’s next-to-last round of qualifiers.

England and Portugal are still far from certain of advancing automatically as group winners and could find themselves in next month’s playoffs, which will include the top eight second-place finishers from the nine groups.

Ukraine ready

Kharkiv: Ukraine will be eager to give their fans plenty to cheer about after they managed to overturn a FIFA order to play their World Cup qualifier against Poland in Kharkiv behind closed doors on Friday.

Ukraine had been ordered to play their the Group H qualifier in a closed stadium following “several racist and discriminatory incidents” during the 9-0 win over San Marino in Lviv on Sept 6.