Milan (AFP) – Ciro Immobile will miss European champions Italy’s key World Cup qualifying clashes with Switzerland and Northern Ireland after being ruled out of the matches with a calf injury on Tuesday.
Italy coach Roberto Mancini had picked Lazio forward Immobile, who leads the Serie A scoring charts with 10 goals in 11 appearances, in the Azzurri squad for their final two Group C matches on Friday and Monday.
However on Tuesday the Italian Football Federation said the 31-year-old would leave the national team camp due to the injury, with Mancini calling up Sassuolo attacker Gianluca Scamacca in his place.
Group leaders Italy take to the field at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Friday level on 14 points with the Swiss with two games remaining in the race to the 2022 tournament in Qatar, hoping for a win before taking on Northern Ireland at Windsor Park three days later.
Earlier on Tuesday Immobile hit back at criticism of his form for Italy, which has failed to live up to his goal-getting standards in Serie A.
Immobile has netted 15 times in 54 national team appearances, with his last goal for the Azzurri coming in their 3-0 thumping of Switzerland in June, the second group game of their triumphant Euro 2020 campaign.
“I know the numbers that I’m producing for my club are not the same as those I have with Italy and I won’t deny that the criticism I receive hurts me a bit,” Immobile told reporters.
“It’s upsetting that i don’t get treated like the rest of the players, it’s as though I weren’t one of the 26 at the Euro and that’s not criticism, that’s just spitefulness.”
As well as losing Immobile, Mancini is also sweating on the availability of both captain Giorgio Chiellini and Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella, both of whom did not train on Tuesday.
Injured Roma midfield pair Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolo Zaniolo were on Monday replaced by Immobile’s uncapped Lazio teammate Danilo Cataldi and Atalanta’s Matteo Pessina, who has only just returned from over a month on the sidelines.
Pessina, 24, was brought on as a stoppage-time substitute in Atalanta’s 2-1 win at Cagliari on Saturday, his first appearance since a calf injury picked up in a home defeat at the hands of AC Milan in early October.
25+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
- Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
- $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
- Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
- Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family