"It will be very difficult to have him ready," Italy team doctor Enrico Castellacci told reporters.

The defender's replacement Marco Materazzi is also unavailable due to the one match suspension he received for his red card against Australia.

That then puts Palermo's Andrea Barzagli in the frame to partner Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro in the centre of defence.

The 25 year old is the last specialist central defender in the squad, so should he or Cannavaro get injured Marcello Lippi would need to get creative to fill the hole.