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LONDON – Italy was held to a 0-0 draw by Ireland in a World Cup warm-up match Saturday that saw the Azzurri lose key midfielder Riccardo Montolivo to an apparently serious injury.
Montolivo had his left leg treated before being carried off on a stretcher shortly into the first half.
Injury details were not immediately clear but Montolivo appeared to be saying "it's broken" as fellow players and medical staff hovered around him anxiously.
Making matters worse, Montolivo's replacement Alberto Aquilani also left before halftime complaining of dizziness after knocking heads with a defender.
While Italy coach Cesare Prandelli rested regular starters like Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon, it was an unconvincing performance for the Azzurri.
Italy next hosts Luxembourg on Wednesday then flies out to Brazil a day later.