LONDON -- Key Italy midfielder Riccardo Montolivo broke his left tibia during a friendly with Ireland on Saturday and will miss the World Cup.
Reading fullback Alex Pearce fouled Montolivo in the ninth minute at Fulham's Craven Cottage and Montolivo was carried off on a stretcher.
"Montolivo has what we suspected, a broken tibia," Italy physician Enrico Castellacci said. "I haven't seen the X-ray yet to evaluate the extent of it but for a broken bone you can expect surgery."
Montolivo knew immediately what was wrong, as he was seen saying "it's broken" as fellow players and medical staff hovered around him anxiously while he was still lying on the pitch.
He was then brought to a London hospital for X-rays.
Alberto Aquilani came on as a replacement for Montolivo but he, too, had to come off before halftime complaining of dizziness after knocking heads with Stephen Ward.
Aquilani was also brought to a local hospital, where tests showed he was not seriously hurt.
Aquilani was replaced by Marco Parolo.
Drawn into Group D at the World Cup, Italy opens against England on June 14 then faces Costa Rica on June 20 and Uruguay on June 24.