RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Italy forward Stephan El Shaarawy has sat out training with a muscle problem, just three days before the Azzurri's Confederations Cup opener against Mexico on Sunday.
Without El Shaarawy, coach Cesare Prandelli tested a 4-3-3 on Thursday that was spearheaded by Claudio Marchisio, Emanuele Giaccherini and Mario Balotelli.
While he was Serie A's top scorer at the season midpoint with 14 goals for AC Milan, El Shaarawy struggled in the second half of last season after Balotelli transferred from Manchester City. There was constant speculation over whether El Shaarawy suffered from fatigue.
El Shaarawy has also recently been the subject of transfer speculation.
In Group A of the Confederations, Italy also faces Japan and host Brazil.