Millennium Post

Mario denies yellow brigade

Daniele De Rossi sparked Italy’s fightback and Mario Balotelli scored a superb second-half equaliser as the Azzurri battled to a 2-2 draw against an impressive Brazil in a friendly on Thursday.

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side, hosts of the 2014 World Cup and possible future opponents of Italy at the Confederations Cup, came into this match looking for a win following a 2-1 loss to England last month.

Any doubts Scolari may have had about Brazil on their travels evaporated by the interval after Fred and then Chelsea attacking midfielder Oscar scored one apiece to give Brazil a 2-0 lead.

Brazil looked set to dominate but tired as Italy turned the tables after the break with De Rossi reducing the arrears in the 54th minute, and Balotelli pulling his side level only three minutes later with a fine, curling effort which beat Queens Park Rangers ‘keeper Julio Cesar.While Brazil do not participate in qualifying for the World Cup, Italy sit top of Group B on 10 points, four ahead of second-placed Bulgaria with the Czech Republic in third a point further adrift.

The Azzurri face Group B opponents Malta on Tuesday while Brazil face Russia in a friendly on Monday in London. Both Italy and Brazil created further chances as they fought for the win, however Scolari was left looking for first win.


Mario Balotelli admitted he should have scored more in a 2-2 friendly draw with Brazil despite scoring a superb equaliser for the Azzurri. Italy, the four-time World Cup winners, went in for the half-time break 2-0 down to the five-time champions following goals from Fred and Oscar. However Cesare Prandelli switched from a two-man attack to a 4-3-3, giving Italy more width. It proved a decisive move, with two goals coming from Italy in the space of three minutes courtesy of Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi and Balotelli. But the AC Milan striker, who has scored seven goals in six games for the Rossoneri since joining from Manchester City in January, was left rueing missed chances earlier in the match. ‘I should have put some earlier chances away in the first half,’ said Balotelli, who gave himself a mark of ‘six out of ten’. Prandelli, meanwhile, believes Balotelli showed a glimpse of his full potential.’The first thing he thinks about is the team, and that’s the mark of a champion,’ said the Italian coach, whose side will look to reinforce their lead in World Cup 2014 qualifying Tuesday away to Malta. ‘He has the potential to be one of the best five players in the world. He just needs to be more consistent.’ Brazil, hosts of the 2014 World Cup, do not participate in qualifying but could meet Italy in June at the Confederations Cup.
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