Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini was forced to withdraw from his side’s clash with Switzerland in the first half after picking up a hamstring injury.
The defender experienced a rollercoaster of emotions having thought he’d handed his side the lead just two minutes earlier, only for referee Sergei Karasev to rule his strike out for a handball in the build-up following a VAR check.
The Juventus man’s evening took a huge turn for the worse just minutes later as he pulled up holding his hamstring, and after a brief on-field assessment it son became abundantly clear he would be unable to carry on.
Chiellini walked gingerly away from the pitch and down the tunnel, with Lazio’s Francesco Acerbi brought on his place.
While the injury will likely have little impact on Italy’s ability to qualify from Group A, the repercussions later in the tournament could possibly be huge. Chiellini is the captain and undoubted leader of the Italian national team.
The extent of the injury is, as of yet, unknown, but if Chiellini is injured for an extended period is likely that Acerbi will deputise. Another option, however, could also be the highly-rated Alessandro Bastoni.
Despite being just 22 years old, Bastoni has excelled in recent seasons at Inter, becoming a first team regular and winning the Scudetto in 2020/21 under Antonio Conte. The youngster has five caps to his name since making his debut for Italy in 2020, and will likely be a leader for the national team in the not too distant future.