Barzagli ready to return in Italy's defense

Barzagli ready to return in Italy's defense

Published Jun. 16, 2012 3:42 p.m. ET

Italy defender Andrea Barzagli is ready to play against Ireland after missing the opening two matches at the European Championship with a left calf injury.

Barzagli says he could play on the left or right of center back Daniele De Rossi in coach Cesare Prandelli's new three-man defense. He'll likely replace Leonardo Bonucci on the right.

Barzagli was injured in a pre-tournament friendly loss to Russia.

Coach Cesare Prandelli brought in Cagliari defender Davide Astori as a possible substitute before the opening match with Spain, then released Astori after medical exams showed Barzagli had a chance of returning for the third Group C game against Ireland.


Italy needs to beat Ireland and hope for help from Spain and Croatia to advance.