Italy international Riccardo Montolivo could be a doubt for the World Cup after being stretchered off after just eight minutes in the friendly clash with Republic of Ireland on Saturday.

The AC Milan captain went down after challenging for the ball with Alex Pearce and required several minutes of treatment on the pitch before being replaced by Alberto Aquilani.

With Italy's World Cup opener against England just two weeks away, Montolivo is now a serious doubt for the tournament in Brazil.

The 29-year-old was involved from the start in something of an experimental line-up from coach Cesare Prandelli, but took a hit to his ankle after just eight minutes at Craven Cottage following Pearce's challenge.

Italy players looking on appeared concerned over the midfielder's injury and medical staff were quick to attend to him on the pitch before ultimately carrying him off on a stretcher.

Montolivo made seven appearances for the Azzurri during their World Cup qualifying campaign and was likely to be an important figure for Prandelli as one of the more experienced players in the camp.

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