Tuesday October 16 2012
Prandelli: 'Mario must play like this'

Cesare Prandelli praised Mario Balotelli and his Italy side for beating Denmark even with 10 men. “Mario has to play like this.”

The Azzurri struggled in the opening 15 minutes and were under a lot of pressure, but eventually came out of their shells for a 3-1 victory.

“We found some initial difficulties, as they were pushing us high up the field. Then we played excellent football for 20 minutes,” said the Coach.

A minute either side of the break Denmark scored and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo was sent off for lashing out an elbow.

“We conceded this goal that could’ve made it all go wrong on the stroke of half-time, especially after going down to 10 men, but the team was very organised.

“I saw the spirit of a great team, as with 10 we fought in an organised and determined manner. Once again these lads did brilliantly and focused on this match, which was very, very important for us.”

Balotelli scored the third goal, but was also very impressive with a solid work-rate and earned a standing ovation from the San Siro crowd.

“Mario has to play like this, with this level of generosity. He has the talent.”

Italy are now four points clear at the top of Group B with 10, followed by Bulgaria on six. Prandelli was asked if the Azzurri were already with a foot in Brazil 2014?

“In Brazil, no. We are a little more relaxed, but still need to improve, as we saw tonight that when an opponent makes it a physical game then we struggle.”