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Italy's Giuseppe Rossi may miss the World Cup after sustaining a knee injury - it'd be a massive loss to the competition but a relief for England.

Giuseppe Rossi has been dealt another potentially massive injury blow after suffering possible cruciate ligament damage during Fiorentina's win over Livorno.

Serie A's top scorer could be forgiven for thinking he's cursed as he has previously suffered two serious cruciate ligament injuries which have sidelined him for long spells at vital times.

Rossi missed out on Euro 2012 and could even be forced to sit out this summer's World Cup if the injury is as bad as feared.

It would be a huge loss for Italy, who have been counting on a partnership between Rossi and Mario Balotelli terrorising defences in Brazil.

While Balotelli gets much of the hype, Rossi has been the lethal one this term and has 14 Serie A goals to his name this season. 

At the age of 26, Rossi is showing the extent of his potential and anyone who saw his magnificent performance in Fiorentina's 4-2 win over Juventus back in October will know just how quickly he can turn decisive.

But more than just a player for the big games and beautiful goals, Rossi has provided the Viola with a steady stream of goals, some artful finishes, some opportunistic prods, all valuable.

While Roy Hodgson may have lost some sleep considering how to contain Balotelli, the less physically imposing Rossi has shown he can be the greater threat and he has a more reliable temperament too.

In some ways Rossi is a new Alessandro Del Piero for Italy and has given Cesare Prandelli's side a sense of cutting edge that they have lacked since 2006.

Having played for and been discarded by Manchester United, Rossi knowns the English game and has a point to prove. It's a dangerous combination that Hodgson's often frail and tentative defence would surely struggle to combat.

Further tests later today should reveal the extent of the damage to Rossi's knee. If it is a cruciate ligament then he won't be able to torment England in Brazil.

It would be a devastating loss for the Azzurri and the World Cup as a whole if he were to miss out but Hodgson will surely breath a sigh of relief.

Is this the tackle that will cost Rossi World Cup 2014?

image: © ell-r-brown

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