Cesare Prandelli saw a good performance from Italy after an “embarrassing opening 20 minutes” against Armenia.
The Azzurri had to fight back twice for a 2-2 draw after costly errors at the back in their final World Cup qualifier.
“We started really badly with an embarrassing opening 20 minutes. We started raising the tempo and from there played quite well,” the Coach told Rai Sport.
“Unfortunately we conceded from a corner that we gifted and were about to compromise everything,” he added of Federico Marchetti’s error.
“I saw players who never gave up and that was a positive sign. I told the lads they had to play good football and that now the World Cup campaign begins, so I’ll judge every single game.
“We qualified for the Euros and World Cup without defeat. Clearly these last games make you think it won’t take much to win, but the truth is you need great concentration and grit.”
A victory in the last two games would’ve secured top seed status in the World Cup finals draw, but there were 2-2 draws against both Denmark and Armenia. The Azzurri could still be seeds, but must await tonight’s results from South America.
“I am not worried about whether we are top seeds. The important thing was to qualify, we did that, and now we have to judge the performances to make the right choices for our final 23-man squad.”
Balotelli was a second half substitute and scored the equaliser after a week of controversy and illness.
“Mario came on with the right foot, played well and showed determination. He was debilitated after three days in bed, but the 45 minutes he played was enough.
“We need to evaluate the young players who did well today. Alessandro Florenzi got a great goal, while Lorenzo Insigne was unlucky on two or three chances, but he has technique, personality and the right attitude.”