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GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI has been hit with the news that he may be without key players for Italy's friendly match against South Africa.

Alessandro Nesta has already withdrawn with an ankle problem whilst it looks increasingly likely that Alessandro Del Piero will also be unavailable after picking up a similar problem in the Juventus versus Parma game on Sunday.

Coach Trapattoni has admitted that he will start with Perugia's player of the year Marco Materazzi but team-mate Fabio Liverani will only be a substitute.

A late fitness test will be performed on Del Piero but Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi has already stated that the club would prefer that the mercurial forward is not risked.