Because less players equal more space to pass and move


Italy will be without AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli for the remainder of the Confederations cup after the striker suffered a thigh injury. It will be sufficient for him to miss the rest of the competition. Balotelli has been one of the important players for the Italian national team and his absence will be a major problem for manager Cesare Prandelli.

Balotelli will not be available for the crucial match against Spain in the semifinals. Even though Italy suffered a 4-2 defeat against Brazil, they have done well so far in the tournament to earn a semi-final spot against Spain.

Even though Balotelli was utilised for the full 90 min against Brazil, team doctor Enrico Castellacci has said that he will not be taking any risks with the player. The former Manchester city man was utilised as the lone striker in the three group matches for Italy. The injury means that Prandelli is likely to resort to former Milan striker Alberto Gilardino, who is the closest capable of playing as a lone striker. Sebastian Giovinco and Stephan El Shaarawy do not possess the physical build required to play this role.

Italy will have bad memories from their recent match against Spain. They were humiliated 4-0 by the world champions in the final of the Euro 2012.

"Without Mario, we need to work even more at a collective level. We'll have players with different characteristics, but the aim is to make the team even more compact," said Prandelli. "The player cannot recover between now and the final on Sunday. We prefer not to take any risks. In agreement with the coach Cesare Prandelli, it was decided to send him back to Milan after speaking to the medical staff at AC Milan, who will look after him," said the team doctor ahead of the match.