Cagliari's Astori on standby for Italy

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Posted Wednesday, June 06, 2012 by ESPN

Cagliari's Astori on standby for Italy

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has revealed he will bring defender Davide Astori into the squad if he thinks Andrea Barzagli is a long-term injury risk.

Barzagli suffered a calf injury in last week's 3-0 friendly defeat to Russia and has been ruled out for 20 days.

That has meant the Juventus defender will miss the group stage and Prandelli admits he is now mulling over whether to bring in Astori.

Prandelli said after his team's arrival to Krakow this afternoon [Tuesday]: "We will try to recover Barzagli and we will wait until the last minute.

"However, should he not make it, it will be Astori and not (Inter Milan Andrea) Ranocchia to replace him.

"Ranocchia got a muscle strain in the last training session we had in Parma."

Ranocchia was cut from the team last week after Prandelli reduced the squad to 23 players.

Prandelli, meanwhile, expects Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli to recover from a muscular injury in time for Italy's Group C opener against Spain on Sunday.

The 21-year-old sat out this morning's [Tuesday] training session in Coverciano, Florence, as a precautionary measure.

"Mario has a problem in his abductor muscle but we can recover him," Prandelli said.

Prandelli has not ruled out making tactical some tactical changes to his team after their under-par display against Russia last Friday.

"We are aware we had some problems against Russia and it would be stupid not to try out different solutions," Prandelli said.

"But I see a lot of willingness from my players to prove their worth in our next game.

"After our defeat to Russia in Zurich I saw a great sense of responsibility from my players.

"I see a lot of enthusiasm in our camp."

Meanwhile, Balotelli will have both his family names on his shirt at Euro 2012.

UEFA's official tournament list shows that the forward has registered 'Barwuah Balotelli' as his shirt name.

Balotelli was born in Sicily as Mario Barwuah to parents of Ghanaian descent.

His African heritage is now being stressed days after Balotelli said in an interview that he will walk off the field if he is racially abused at Euro 2012.

He took the name Balotelli from his foster parents in Brescia, who brought him up after he became ill as a toddler.

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