[World Cup] Key Player Review: Italy – Mario Balotelli

Italy are a mess in the final third. In qualification, Cesare Prandelli used 11 different players in his front trio, and none started more than four matches.

Furthermore, three of the five attackers in his current 23-man squad—Alessio Cerci, Antonio Cassano and Ciro Immobile—didn’t start any games at all in the qualifiers.

Prandelli seems set to use a 4-3-2-1 formation, but the players behind the main striker could be very functional, rather than the creators we’re accustomed to from Italy.

This means it’s basically all about Balotelli. He’s infuriating and inconsistent but incredibly talented. At his best he can be the tournament’s best player, at his worst he could cost Italy—he’s the definition of a key player.



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