Antonio Cassano World Cup hopes hit
Antonio Cassano's chances of representing Italy at the World Cup this summer are hanging by a thread due to an injury he picked up at the end of last month.
The 31-year-old has missed Parma's last two games since injuring his ankle in the 3-2 defeat to Lazio. He was asked to take part in a fitness test by Italy coach Cesare Prandelli, but was unable to take part due to the injury which his club's general manager Pietro Leonardi has branded "serious."
"He's reported for the national team, but he's not going to get involved in any kind of fitness work at Coverciano," Leonardi told Teleducato Parma.
"He's not well and we can only hope he gets better as quickly as possible, but it was a big blow he took. He's following a special recovery plan and trying to get him back to face Napoli knocked us back a few days.
"We hope he can return to play Inter [on Sunday], but there are no guarantees. We'll be delighted when we have him back, but there really is no way of telling when that will be."
Since Prandelli has repeatedly emphasised how big a factor the physical condition and fitness of his players will be in his final squad selection for Brazil, Cassano's failure to take part in Monday's tests will not have helped his cause.
Should he miss the weekend's clash against his former club, he would be left with only four more Serie A matches to prove both his fitness and form ahead of Prandelli's squad selection next month.