Italy defender Chiellini injured, to miss qualifier in Spain

Juventus'-Giorgio-Chiellini.-(Julio-Cortez/AP)Juventus'-Giorgio-Chiellini.-(Julio-Cortez/AP)

Juventus' Giorgio Chiellini. (Julio Cortez/AP)

FLORENCE, Italy — Italy’s preparations for a World Cup qualifier against Spain have taken a big hit following an injury to top defender Giorgio Chiellini.

The Italian soccer federation says Chiellini injured his right calf in training Friday morning and left the team, meaning he will miss both the game in Spain and another qualifier against Israel on Tuesday.

Italy plays Spain in Madrid in a match that will likely decide which team qualifies automatically from Group G. Both teams have five wins in addition to the draw between them last year in Turin. The loser could go into a playoff.

Chiellini was expected to start the match against Spain alongside fellow defenders Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci. It wasn’t immediately clear who will replace him.

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