Italy will face Spain tonight in the second semi-final of the Confederations Cup. Mario Balotelli will not feature for Italy due to an injury that has sent the striker home for treatment and the same is bizarrely expected to work in favor of Italy according to Cesare Prandelli.
The head coach of Italy said that the team would play better without Mario. The statement made by Prandelli may seem ridiculous to several Italian fans.
Tonight's match will be a rematch of the Euro 2012 final in which Spain swept aside Italy. The winner will face Brazil in the final of the Confederations Cup on Sunday on what will be an epic final regardless of who wins tonight.
Balotelli returned to Italy on Monday with a serious thigh injury. However, the Azzurri coach firmly believes that they can play as a cohesive unit without their star striker. Balotelli is the only Italian player who has managed to score more than one goal for the Italians in the tournament, which could cause Italy to suffer on attack, regardless, Prandelli believes the opposite.
"From an individual standpoint he adds something big to this squad, so
we lose something in terms of quality but maybe it can improve the
quality of our play," a hopeful Cesare Prandelli said in a press conference.
Alberto Gilardino will start in replacement of Super Mario and much is expected of the 30-year old striker. He had a good season for Bologna netting 13 goals and he'll have to score on this one to honorably fill in for Balotelli.
"He's a reliable player, a generous player, a reference point for the
squad and a player who knows how to score goals,'' Prandelli said about Gilardino. "His numbers prove
that. He's not here just because I had him at Parma and I like him.''
To add to Balotelli's absence, there are more problems for the Italians. Ignazio Abate will also miss tonight's game. The defender got injured against Brazil. Things can definitely go wrong if Pirlo's doubtful status for the game is confirmed and the Azzurri leader misses the game. Italy's talisman has a muscular problem and looks set to undergo a late fitness test which will determine his fate.