MARSEILLE • Injury-hit midfielder Daniele de Rossi is virtually certain to miss Italy's Euro 2016 quarter-final clash with world champions Germany tomorrow, according to the the team's medical staff .
He has been rock solid for Antonio Conte's side as they upset pre-tournament predictions to top Group E and then sweep defending champions Spain aside.
He is suffering from a "serious right thigh injury" picked up in the 2-0 round-of-16 win over Spain on Monday, and Italy team doctor Enrico Castellacci said the Roma player is unlikely to return in time for tomorrow's clash in Bordeaux.
"It's a very serious situation," said Castellacci. "We're trying everything to get him back in time. But we can't give any prognosis."
The loss is a significant blow for Italy as they look to secure their third semi-final spot in the most recent five tournaments.
Their situation is not helped by the absence of Lazio winger Antonio Candreva. One of Italy's top players in their impressive opening win over Belgium, he suffered a hamstring injury in their second group game, a 1-0 win over Sweden.
Castellacci said the player has been "working really hard" to be fit.
"He's made clear progress, but not enough to warrant his immediate return to the team. He's getting better, but he's not cured yet," said the team doctor.
The absence of suspended midfielder Thiago Motta is a further headache for coach Conte, as Italy look to extend their eight-match unbeaten record against Germany in major tournaments.
Roma midfielder Alessandro Florenzi insisted that the Azzurri will not look for excuses if they lose.
"Excuses about not having such and such a player available, or about teams having one more day of rest than the others are all for losers," he said.
Conte said before the tournament that he was determined to give all 23 squad players the chance to shine, and Motta's suspension could give Juventus midfielder Stefano Sturaro the opportunity to impress his old coach at the Turin club.
While confidence is high after toppling Spain, Florenzi said Germany will be a far bigger challenge. "All 23 of us can do this," he said. "We've already climbed some mountains here but (with Germany) we're facing Everest."
State Of Play
Wales v Belgium
Germany v Italy
France v Iceland
All on Singtel TV Ch142 & StarHub Ch220