As Italy gears up for Euro 2024, the Azzurri are facing some significant absences. The final squad announcement left fans and analysts alike discussing the notable omissions of Francesco Acerbi, Domenico Berardi, and Sandro Tonali. Each of these players would have been key components of Italy's campaign in Germany, but various circumstances have ruled them out.

Francesco Acerbi

Francesco Acerbi, the experienced Inter Milan center-back, is 36 years old but still remains a crucial figure for Italy. His absence due to injury is a significant blow to the national team. Acerbi, who has battled back from various off-field setbacks to become a late bloomer in the sport, would have almost certainly been a starter for Italy at Euro 2024. He was expected to pair up with his club teammate Alessandro Bastoni in the heart of the defense.

Unfortunately, Acerbi has been sidelined by a groin injury that requires surgery. This injury not only takes him out of the Euros but also leaves a big gap in the Italian defense. Acerbi's leadership and experience would have been invaluable in a tournament setting, especially considering his solid performances for Inter Milan this season.

Domenico Berardi

Domenico Berardi, another crucial player for Italy, has also been ruled out of Euro 2024. The Sassuolo forward, who was part of Italy's Euro 2020-winning squad, suffered a severe injury in his first game back after recovering from a meniscus issue. During a Serie A clash with Verona on March 3, Berardi tore his Achilles tendon, a devastating injury that has put him out of action for the foreseeable future.

Berardi's absence is a huge loss for Italy. Known for his versatility and ability to play in multiple attacking roles, Berardi would have added significant firepower to the Azzurri's front line. His recovery is expected to extend into next year, meaning he will miss not only the Euros but also a considerable portion of the upcoming club season.

Sandro Tonali

Sandro Tonali's situation is a stark contrast to the physical injuries of Acerbi and Berardi. Tonali, who made a promising start to his Premier League career with Newcastle after a high-profile transfer from AC Milan, found himself entangled in a betting scandal. This scandal is the biggest to hit Italian football since the 1980s.

Tonali was handed a 10-month ban for his involvement in illegal gambling, starting from October 27, 2023. This ban rules him out of Euro 2024, a massive disappointment for Italy, as Tonali was expected to be a key player in Luciano Spalletti's squad. While his absence on the field is felt deeply, the primary concern remains his personal rehabilitation and recovery from gambling addiction.

Tonali's journey back to football will be closely watched. His talent is undeniable, and fans hope he can overcome this setback and return stronger. The ban has also sparked conversations about the pressures young athletes face and the importance of support systems to help them navigate their careers and personal lives.

The bigger picture for Italy

The absence of Acerbi, Berardi, and Tonali presents a significant challenge for Italy as they head into Euro 2024. These players brought a blend of experience, versatility, and youthful energy to the team. Their replacements will need to step up and fill the void left by these key figures.

Italy's head coach, Luciano Spalletti, now faces the task of reshuffling his squad and strategy. The focus will be on ensuring that the team remains competitive and capable of performing at the highest level. The upcoming tournament in Germany will test Italy's depth and resilience, but the Azzurri are determined to make their mark.

Italian fans, while disappointed by the absences, remain hopeful. The team has a strong history and a tradition of overcoming adversity. With new players stepping into the spotlight, Italy aims to rally together and put on a strong performance at Euro 2024, continuing to build on their rich football legacy.