Sunday June 10 2012
Prandelli: 'Balo should've passed it'

Cesare Prandelli admits Mario Balotelli “should’ve passed it” in a great chance against Spain, but insists the substitution was “not punishment.”

Italy earned an impressive 1-1 draw in their Group C opener today, but Balotelli wasted a couple of golden opportunities before replacement Antonio Di Natale broke the deadlock.

“I don’t know what happened to Mario when he was alone in front of Iker Casillas. He probably had two options and in these cases a striker should only have one. He should’ve passed it to Antonio Cassano,” said Prandelli in a press conference.

“I will talk to him and we’ll see. His booking didn’t worry me more than a little, either. I want my strikers to always give 100 per cent.

“The substitution? I had already decided to bring on Di Natale before the error, so it was not punishment.”

Italy had taken the lead against the reigning World and European Champions, but were pegged back just three minutes later by Cesc Fabregas.

“It’s a shame we only got a point, but this can happen, as our team wants to play football and that leaves gaps for Spain to go on the counter-attack. We have to improve, but this is the right mentality.”

The Azzurri were also reassured by President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, who was in the stands in Gdansk and visited the team in the locker room.

“He complimented us,” revealed Prandelli. “He also said that at the end he was suffering a little, as we all were, but he had fun, especially in the first half.”

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