Posted June 09, 2012 on
AP on Fox
It's time for Mario Balotelli to get serious.
The wild-headed Manchester City forward is about to make his first start for Italy in a major tournament and the expectations couldn't be higher.
No other player in Italy's team has the combination of talent and physical prowess that Balotelli possesses, and that could be just what the Azzurri need in their European Championship opener against Spain on Sunday.
As Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon puts it, ''there's nothing to discuss about Mario in terms of football, because he's a pure talent - one of the few players who can make you win matches.''
But coach Cesare Prandelli says Balotelli needs to improve his teamwork, adding that ''could be the key to success'' for him.
BEST OF MAXIM
Enoch Balotelli (right) with brother MarioBy Ameenu ShardowEnoch Balotelli, younger brother of Manchester City star Mario Balotelli says he is open to playing for Ghana.The 19-year-old was born in Ghana but raised in Italy and therefore qualifies to play for both countries.However, unlike his elder brother who slumped the door at playing for the Black Stars and rather chose to play...
Mario Balotelli confirmed his reputation as an uncontrollable talent. Antonio Di Natale confirmed his as a late-blooming but utterly pure goalscorer.
The study in contrasts could not have been greater between the two Italy forwards during Sunday's 1-1 draw with Spain at the European Championship.
The 21-year-old Balotelli earned one yellow card and could have easily been handed...
Italy midfielder Thiago Motta believes Mario Balotelli will be an influential figure for the Azzurri at Euro 2012.
Paris St Germain midfielder Motta knows just what to expect from Balotelli - the pair were Inter Milan team-mates in the 2009/10 season - and reckons the volatile Manchester City striker could have a big role to play in Poland and Ukraine.
"We need Balotelli to...
AND IT BEGINS
If you have kept with the Euro 2012 tournament, you know the underlying story has been racism. From the Netherlands captain, Mark Van Bommel, saying he was taunted with racial slurs during their training session to Italy’s Mario Balotelli saying he would kill any fans that throw bananas at him, the newest headlines from the Euro 2012 tournament come after the Russians beat the...
It had to be one of the most, if not the most, bizarre incidents in Euro 2012 so far. Italy’s Mario Balotelli does a nice job catching Spain’s Sergio Ramos wide on the right at just the right time, set himself up on a silver platter for a goal … but the striker from Man City decided to wait. And wait. And wait even longer. The fans watching had time to go to the bathroom and...
Thiago Motta has urged Italy team-mate Mario Balotelli to act responsibly at Euro 2012. The Manchester City striker is expected...
Taken from Now Watch TV Live
Spain 1-1 Italy: (Di Natale 61', Fabregas 64')
Champ of the Match: Giorgio Chiellini
Taken from ESPN FC
Solid as ever and kept Spain's attack at bay for the majority of game. Best defensive display we've seen from any players during the Euros so far, proving again why he is so key to Italy getting success.
Reports of Italy's demise turn out to have been exaggerated. Italy found a resolve and sense of purpose that had been wholly lacking for some time against fellow European giants Spain Sunday night.
The way Italy played Sunday night may not be a template for the future - few other sides play in such an idiosyncratic style as the Spanish - but a point against the reigning world...
Italy have held Spain to a 1-1 draw in the opening Group C fixture of Euro2012 in Gdansk. The Italians were the better of the sides in the opening half, creating a number of good chances, but it wasn’t until the second 45 minutes where things kicked into gear. Cesare Prandelli made the decision to bring off Mario Balotelli just prior to the hour-mark and it worked a treat as his...