Euro 2012 in Brief: Romeu backs Torres to star; Azzurri suffer Barzagli blow; Kalinic gets call


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Romeu backs Torres to star

The Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu has said that his team-mate Fernando Torres will be a key player for Spain at the European Championship, despite having had a difficult season with the Champions League winners.

Torres scored six goals in 32 Premier League appearances last season but he is expected to start when Spain begin the defence of their European crown against Italy in Gdansk on Saturday.

Romeu said Torres's experience and work-rate could prove vital for the world champions. "Torres will be a very important player for the national team at the Euros because he is a player with great quality and experience and these characteristics are very important in a forward.

"He is very important for Chelsea too. You only have to look at how the fans love him and chant his name, whilst he is also loved amongst the players and directors at the club."

Azzurri suffer Barzagli blow

Andrea Barzagli has added to Italy's worries by being ruled out of the Euro 2012 group phase with a calf strain. The centre-back suffered the injury in Friday's 3-0 friendly defeat by Russia in Zurich.

"We could change a player 24 hours before the Euros but we will try to get him fit," said the Italy team doctor, Enrico Castellacci. "We are confident he can recover but he would not be available in the first phase."

Kalinic gets call to replace Olic

The striker Ivica Olic is out of Croatia's Euro 2012 squad with a ruptured thigh muscle. He has been replaced by the former Blackburn striker Nikola Kalinic. Olic picked up the injury as Croatia drew 1-1 with Norway in their final warm-up match.

"The injury turned out to be far more serious than the initial examination had suggested and a scan showed a rupture in the right thigh," said the team doctor, Zoran Bajtijarevic.