Rome (AFP) – Captain Giorgio Chiellini said “nothing could tarnish the joy” of Italy advancing to the last 16 of Euro 2020 despite hobbling off injured in the first half of a 3-0 win over Switzerland in Rome on Wednesday.

The 36-year-old Juventus defender had a 20th-minute goal ruled out for handball by VAR at the Stadio Olimpico and four minutes later asked to be replaced, holding his thigh.

Minutes after his exit, Manuel Locatelli grabbed a first goal, with the Sassuolo forward adding a second after the break and Ciro Immobile scoring a third a minute from time.

“Nothing can tarnish such a great joy. We are in the second round! Go on like this!” Chiellini posted on Twitter after the game.

Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi took his place, with the captain’s armband handed to Juventus teammate Leonardo Bonucci.

Chiellini pulled a flexor muscle in his left leg and will undergo exams on Thursday, a spokesperson for the federation confirmed after the meeting.

“We hope that there is nothing serious, we will see tomorrow,” said coach Roberto Mancini. 

After spending the rest of the first half on the bench, Chiellini walked to the dressing room without any visible difficulty.

The 109-times capped defender had become the Italian with the most European Championship appearances with 14.