Domenica, 23 Settembre 2018
ROME

Soccer: Italy's Balotelli acquiring 'inner balance'

English
© ANSA

Rome, March 27 - Coach Cesare Prandelli has praised
the "inner balance" Mario Balotelli is acquiring after the
striker ignored provocation and scored a double to earn Italy a
2-0 win in Malta on Tuesday and put them closer to qualifying
for next year's World Cup in Brazil.
Balotelli made up for a lusterless showing by many of his
teammates, converting an early penalty and producing a cool
finish to a slick move at the end of the first half, despite
being repeatedly fouled by the Maltese.
According to some reports, home fans also directed monkey
chants at the 22-year-old, who has Ghanaian roots.
The forward is widely recognised as having the ability to
become one of the world's best strikers, but some have expressed
doubts about whether his temperamental streak would enable him
to realise his huge potential.
He has frequently got himself sent off when provoked by
opponents in the past and his career has been dogged by other
disciplinary problems and rows with coaches, as well as some
bizarre headline-grabbing off-field antics.
But Balotelli appears to have found new peace of mind
since leaving Manchester City to join AC Milan in January and
his form has been excellent.
He has scored seven goals in six games for Milan and he
also netted a spectacular long-distance effort for Italy in last
week's 2-2 draw with Brazil in a friendly, in addition to
Tuesday's double.
"If he keeps scoring goals with this level of continuity,
he will become more and more of a guarantee (for us)," said
Prandelli.
"The important thing is that he keeps this desire to score
goals and doesn't get sated.
"But, above all, I want to pay him my compliments for the
inner balance that he is finding.
"He did well to stay calm and tolerate certain attitudes
(from the Maltese).
"He knows that he's the one the opponents want to stop, by
hook or by crook. They'll always try to provoke him.
"He has to get used to not reacting, as he did".
Italy lead European World Cup qualifying group B with 13
points from five games, three points more than second-placed
Bulgaria, who have played six matches.
It is a solid position but Prandelli is looking on the Euro
2012 runners-up to improve on the showing in Malta, where they
had the crossbar and a Gianluigi Buffon save from a penalty to
thank for them keeping a clean sheet.
"The fact that we maintained possession was positive, but
we lacked intensity when it came to finishing," said the coach,
who has rejuvenated Italy and got them playing an attractive
attacking style since taking over in 2010.
"There was too much distance between the defence and the
midfield.
"We have to learn from this and learn to be faster when we
meet sides who want to defend tightly".

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