Florence: Italy center back Andrea Barzagli has been ruled out of upcoming World Cup qualifiers with an Achilles injury.
As a replacement, coach Cesare Prandelli called up another Juventus defender, Angelo Ogbonna, for matches against Bulgaria on Friday and the Czech Republic four days later.
Barzagli is the fifth starter ruled out for the Bulgaria match, with forwards Mario Balotelli and Pablo Osvaldo plus midfielder Riccardo Montolivo suspended. Midfielder Claudio Marchisio is also unavailable for both qualifiers with a torn ligament in his right knee.
The Azzurri are top of Group B with 14 points from six games, four more than Bulgaria.