Italy’s World Cup hopes boosted by Rossi injury update

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Italy’s World Cup hopes have been given a significant boost with the news that Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi should be fit to play in Brazil.

The former Manchester United and Villarreal man was ruled out for the season after injuring his right knee for a third time earlier this month.

At first it was feared that the 26-year-old American-born Italian would require a third career operation on the joint but after meeting with renowned specialist Dr Richard Steadman in Colorado the forward has been told he could now return before the end of the Serie A campaign.

While Rossi – who is the leading scorer in the Italian top flight with 14 goals – will have little time to play his way into fitness and form, the fall from grace of striking rival Dani Osvaldo means the Viola man should be considered for an each-way bet in Brazil.

Backing the diminutive Italian at odds of 80/1 to be the tournament’s top scorer may seem an unlikely punt, but with Ladbrokes paying a quarter of the odds for a top four finish and Italy practically assured of qualifying from their group there is a chance.

Rossi managed a total of just five goals in 27 games during his time in England – which also included a loan spell at Newcastle United – but hit his stride when moving to the continent.

Nine goals in a 20-game loan stay at Parma convinced La Liga side Villarreal to sign the striker and he repaid that faith with a return of 82 strikes in 192 appearances before returning to Italy.

He now has 15 goals from 21 games for Fiorentina – to go with seven in 29 for Italy – and if given a run for the Azzurri in the World Cup could be among the goals again.

Italy are 2/5 favourites to qualify from Group D and while England are expected to provide a stern test, Rossi and co. could highlight Uruguay’s defensive frailties and make like work of Costa Rica.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.