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Jun 21, 2013

Pirlo out of Italy-Brazil clash

Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo has been ruled out of his country's final Confederations Cup group match against Brazil in Salvador on Saturday with a strained leg muscle.

• Preview: Brazil v Italy

Meanwhile, the tournament hosts are waiting to see whether Paulinho will be available for the match - which will determine who wins Group A - as he battles to recover from a sprained ankle suffered in the 2-0 win over Mexico.

Italy are already without Daniele De Rossi, suspended after picking up two yellow cards, but hope Pirlo will be able to return for the semi-finals.

That means coach Cesare Prandelli could turn to former Liverpool man Alberto Aquilani, Antonio Candreva and Alessio Cerci as he reshuffles the team that beat Japan 4-3 thanks to a late Sebastian Giovinco winner.

Brazil team doctor Jose Luiz Runco stressed that Paulinho's injury was not serious but could nevertheless keep him out of the Italy clash.

"The ankle is still hurting and swollen, but we don't need to have him undergo tests," he explained. "We will monitor the injury and, later on, we will determine whether he can play on Saturday.''

Defender David Luiz will have tests on his nose after he was hit in the face against Mexico, causing heavy bleeding, but is set to be in Luiz Felipe Scolari's starting line-up.

"It was a bit swollen when he woke up - but even if the tests show that he has a broken nose, he will be able to play," Runco said.

He also calmed fears over Neymar, who was left limping after a low to the leg against Mexico, saying: "It's nothing serious - he will be fine."

Brazil need only a draw to finish top of the group thanks to their superior goal difference, meaning they would be likely to avoid a semi-final clash against Group B leaders Spain.

Assistant coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said: "We've talked about the possibility of resting some players, but we haven't made a decision yet. We will see closer to the match."

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