Italy may have been dealt a huge injury blow in their first training session on Austrian soil after captain Fabio Cannavaro left the field on a stretcher.
Roberto Donadoni’s squad only arrived in their Euro 2008 camp in Baden this morning, but they have already been struck by misfortune during today’s training session at Admira Wacker’s ground.
Cannavaro went to ground after a challenge with Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini and looked in severe discomfort.
A stretcher was needed to take the Real Madrid man to the dressing room and he will undergo tests in the next 24-48 hours to ascertain the severity of the problem.
"We have to do tests but it does not look like a minor injury. It takes at least 12 hours to understand the full extent of an injury like this. The first thing we need to assess is if there is any damage to the bones," team doctor Paolo Zeppilli said.
If the injury is serious, Donadoni will have the the opportunity to decide whether he needs to replace Cannavaro on or before June 8.
As long as a FIFA doctor judges that an injured player is unable to take part in the competition, one change can be made to the squad 24 hours before the first game.
Fiorentina defender Alessandro Gamberini would be the most likely stand-in.
Meanwhile, earlier Donadoni held his first press conference and he admitted he is feeling the pressure of his first major tournament as a coach.
"This is a new experience and it’s very different to being a player," Donadoni said at Casa Azzurri.
"You live the emotion in a very special way, but I’m trying to keep it under control.
"Life as a coach is a little more stressful than as a player, but everyone adapts to that in a different way. I am trying to free myself from the tension because it is counterproductive."
Antonio Di Natale scored twice in the friendly against Belgium on Friday and made his case for a starting shirt.
"The game against Belgium confirmed that Di Natale deserves to be in this squad for everything that he has done so far," Donadoni agreed.
"I won’t rule out the possibility of Alessandro Del Piero playing a different role. He is available and he has the right motivation.
"Does that count out Antonio Cassano? Those who are trying to create rivalries are making a mistake."
Italy’s first game against the Netherlands takes place on June 9 and pits Donadoni against former Milan teammate Marco Van Basten.
"The game against Holland carries a special significance for me because it is a friendship that has continued to the present," he admitted.
"But these personal emotions need to be put to one side.
"Are France the strongest team in the Group? The other two sides Romania and Holland are also good," he concluded.
Source: C4 Football Italia