Nesta chances 'very remote' for Italy's semi

July 2, 2006

DUISBURG, Germany, July 2 (Reuters) - Italy defender Alessandro Nesta is almost certain to miss Tuesday's World Cup semi-final against Germany because of a groin injury, the team's spokesman said on Sunday.

Nesta missed Italy's 1-0 second round win over Australia and their 3-0 triumph over Ukraine in the quarter-final due to the injury which he picked up during the final group game against the Czech Republic.

'His chances of playing are very remote,' said Italian Football Federation spokesman Antonello Valentini, adding that the player had undergone further tests on Saturday.

Inter Milan defender Marco Materazzi, who missed the Ukraine match due to suspension, is likely to return to the starting lineup although Andrea Barzagli, who deputised well in the quarter-final, is another option open to coach Marcello Lippi.

Nesta has missed games through injuries in all three World Cups he has participated in and was absent for Italy's second round defeat to co-hosts South Korea four years ago.