Elisabetta Tona – a vital cog in Italy's well-oiled defence – has been ruled out of UEFA Women's EURO 2013 after tearing a muscle in her leg.
The 29-year-old, part of a backline that did not concede in ten qualifying matches, sustained the injury during the Azzurre's final training session before flying out to Sweden.
"We did a scan this morning and it showed that the muscle had torn, which is pretty serious and not something you can recover from in two weeks," said the ASD Torres centre-back. "I knew it was immediately serious because I couldn't walk and fell to the ground.
"At that moment, all I could feel was pain, but after that you realise you've done two years of [hard] work and then with just one training session it becomes a dream that has vanished.
"I'm going to stay here with my team-mates and I'll support them from the stands," Tona added as Italy prepare to face Group A rivals Finland in today's tournament curtain-raiser. "We are ready. Hopefully we can start with the right attitude because that's the most important thing."
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