Confederations Cup: Italy plan innovations in Spain semi-final

Balotelli's early departure from the tournament with a thigh injury is a heavy blow, the AC Milan striker having emerged in the last 12 months as coach Cesare Prandelli's most important attacking player. Experienced Bologna striker Alberto Gilardino is in line to deputise.

updated: June 26, 2013 09:34 IST
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Fortaleza, Brazil: Weakened by injury and chastened by the memory of a crushing loss to the same opponents 12 months ago, Italy have vowed to use their imagination when they meet Spain in Thursday's Confederations Cup semi-final.

The match at Fortaleza's Estadio Castelao is a repeat of last year's Euro 2012 final, when Spain cruised to a 4-0 win to claim an unprecedented third consecutive major international title.

Having swept through the group phase at the Confederations Cup with three consecutive wins, the world and European champions were the favourites to advance to the final even before Italy's injury problems struck.

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  • Football
  • Real Madrid
  • Valencia
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Giorgio Chiellini
  • Alberto Gilardino
  • Mario Balotelli