World Cup Insider: Key Italian midfielder out of finals after leg break

FRIENDLY DRAW: Republic of Ireland's Wes Hoolahan (left) and Italy's Thiago Motta (right) battle for the ball during Saturday's 0-0 draw at Craven Cottage

FRIENDLY DRAW: Republic of Ireland's Wes Hoolahan (left) and Italy's Thiago Motta (right) battle for the ball during Saturday's 0-0 draw at Craven Cottage

First published in Sport

ITALY midfielder Riccardo Montolivo will miss the World Cup finals after breaking his leg during Saturday’s goalless draw with Republic of Ireland.

Montolivo was carried off on a stretcher after damaging his left leg in an eighth-minute challenge with Alex Pearce at Craven Cottage.

Scans have revealed the AC Milan midfielder has suffered a fracture, and he will now undergo surgery rather than travelling to Brazil.

Italy face England in their opening Group D game a week on Saturday, and are likely to feature former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi in their squad.

Rossi returned from knee trouble to play for 70 minutes against Ireland, but was unable to threaten in an underwhelming Italian performance.

Ireland should have claimed a late victory, but Hull midfielder Stephen Quinn smashed a shot against the crossbar.

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URUGUAY’S World Cup preparations continued with an unremarkable 1-0 win over Northern Ireland in Montevideo.

Christian Stuani’s second-half strike secured victory, but Uruguay laboured for long periods against a Northern Irish side that have won just one of their last 20 matches.

Uruguay face England in their second Group D game on June 19 in Sao Paulo, and Roy Hodgson’s scouting team will have seen little to alarm them at the weekend.

Uruguay named a strong line-up, although Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Atletico Madrid centre-half Diego Godin were notable absentees.

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ROBIN VAN PERSIE confirmed his wellbeing with the only goal of the game as Holland beat fellow finalists Ghana 1-0 in a warm-up game in Amsterdam.

Van Persie, who has finally recovered from the injury that hampered him in the second half of last season with Manchester United, tapped home in the fifth minute after Wesley Sneijder squared the ball across the area.

Arjen Robben missed a number of chances to extend Holland’s lead, with Dutch boss Louis van Gaal arranging his side in a 5-3-2 formation that featured Daley Blind and Daryl Janmaat as wing-backs.

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EDIN Dzeko scored twice as Bosnia beat Ivory Coast 2-1, with Didier Drogba grabbing a last-minute consolation goal for the reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions.

Eduardo Vargas also grabbed a brace as Chile beat Egypt 3-2, Ivan Perisic’s double enabled Croatia to see off Mali 2-1, while Mexico were impressive as they secured a 3-1 win over Ecuador.

A Colombia side lacking Radamel Falcao threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Senegal, and Cristiano Ronaldo was a notable absentee as Portugal drew 0-0 with Greece.

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