Claudio Marchisio backs Alberto Gilardino to plug Italy hole

Marchisio also said that Balotelli's impressive performances during the group phase, which included goal-scoring turns against Mexico and Japan, were a sign of the 22-year-old's increasing maturity.

updated: June 26, 2013 08:47 IST
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Fortaleza, Brazil: Claudio Marchisio believes team-mate Alberto Gilardino will prove a successful deputy for the injured Mario Balotelli when Italy tackle Spain in the Confederations Cup semi-finals on Thursday.

Balotelli was ruled out of the tournament on Monday after tearing a muscle in his left thigh, depriving coach Cesare Prandelli of a player who has become Italy's most influential striker over the past 12 months.

Gilardino was a member of the Italy squad that tasted World Cup glory in Germany in 2006, and although he has only played for four minutes at the Confederations Cup, Marchisio says the 30-year-old Bologna target man can make an impact against Spain.

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  • Football
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Mario Balotelli
  • Andrea Pirlo
  • Alberto Gilardino
  • Claudio Marchisio
  • Gianluigi Buffon