Injury problems for Spain and Italy, Blanc to shake things up and Ireland in need of rest
Sky Sports is reporting that Alvaro Arbeloa has emerged as a major injury doubt for Spain just days before their Group C opener against Italy.
If Arbeloa doesn’t make the game, Spain could opt to move Sergio Ramos to right-back and use Raul Albiol alongside Gerard Pique in a makeshift defence.
The news will give a boost to Italian forward Mario Balotelli, who has been passed fit and is expected to play in the opener, according to the Daily Mail.
However, the BBC reports that the Azzurri have injury problems of their own.
Defensive stalwart Andrea Barzagli will definitely miss the opening Group C game against Spain after picking up a calf injury in Italy’s 3-0 defeat to Russia last week, and could yet miss the whole tournament.
In the Juventus man’s absence, Ignazio Abate will most likely cement his place in the starting 11, while Cagliari defender Davide Astori will replace Barzagli in the squad if necessary.
Meanwhile, French coach Laurent Blanc has hinted that he may change up his defence for his side’s Group D opener against England, telling Sky Sports that "there was a hierarchy in place which all changed when Eric Abidal became ill".
While Mexes and Evra are the usual centre-back and left-back pairing, Blanc has been heaping praise on Premiership duo Laurent Koscielny and Gael Clichy.
Both could now potentially be shrewd fantasy football acquisitions.
Elsewhere, Croatia’s Ivica Olic has been ruled out of Euro 2012 with a thigh injury picked up against Norway on Saturday.
Ex-Blackburn forward Nikola Kalinic has replaced the veteran striker and could prove an interesting fantasy football pick.
He scored an impressive 10 goals in 19 games for Ukrainian side Dnepropetrovsk last season.
Finally, Croatia will be happy to hear that their opponents in the first game, the Republic of Ireland, are currently "jaded" and feeling "sluggish on their feet".
The descriptions were made by Irish winger Aiden McGeady when speaking to Sky Sports following his team’s uninspiring 0-0 stalemate against Hungary on Monday.
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