Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini returned to training on Monday morning, raising hopes he may be fit to face Germany in Thursday’s semi-final.
Chiellini was forced off with a thigh strain during Italy’s 2-0 victory over Ireland in the final group game, and the Juventus centre-back was subsequently ruled out of the quarter-final with England on Sunday night.
However, he was present for a training session the following morning, taking part in running and ball-work, and there are now hopes that he will be available to play against Germany in Warsaw.
His return to fitness would be a significant boost for the Italians, who currently have doubts over the fitness of midfielder Daniel De Rossi and right-back Ignazio Abate, while Christian Maggio is suspended.
Meanwhile, Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon, a World Cup winner in 2006, has told his team-mates they must not get carried away after the penalty shootout victory over England.
“We cannot forget that we have only overcome the quarter-final stage,” Buffon said. “I cannot start jumping for joy after taking a spot in the semi-finals. I will only do that when we win something as a team.
“Those of us that have won something important want to repeat that and achieve it also for those that haven't won a trophy yet.”
Germany are widely expected to progress to the final, but Buffon is hopeful Italy can spring a surprise.
“They are probably favourites, but we have the character to face anyone,” he said. “No-one goes into a game wanting to finish second.”© ESPN