Italy vs. Spain: Mercurial Mario Balotelli Should Start Next Match on Bench
Italy earned a well-deserved point against Spain, the match finishing in a 1-1 draw. But were it not for a lackadaisical, selfish breakaway by Mario Balotelli, Italy very well could have won this match.
And that's just one reason why Balotelli has earned himself a place on the bench moving forward.
The play in question was ridiculous enough, as you'll see below. With plenty of time, he could have unleashed a shot or found two separate teammates for a pass that would have set up a wide-open look at goal.
Instead, he took his time and allowed Sergio Ramos to get back into the play, who made a perfect tackle to correct his mistake.
But there is also the fact that Balotelli brought the referees' attention on himself with a bit of a temper tantrum after failing to win the ball in the box and, not surprisingly, earned himself a yellow card not far after.
He's a ticking time bomb on the pitch, plain and simple, and everyone watching—including the referees—knows it. At any moment, he could leave Italy a man down on the pitch.
For as much talent as he can show—and it can be breathtaking at times; no two ways about it—is he really worth that risk?
I don't think so, especially when Antonio Di Natale replaced him in the second half and promptly scored a goal. Pair that with the fact that Antonio Cassano had a fantastic match and was one of the most dangerous players on the pitch, and frankly, I don't see how Cesare Prandelli can start Balotelli moving forward.
Should Mario Balotelli start for Italy moving forward?
Perhaps he will hope that Balotelli can provide an early spark. And if he doesn't play well or shows signs of losing his composure, he can turn to Di Natale. At least in that case, he doesn't have to turn to Balotelli later in the game.
Any way you slice it, Prandelli has an interesting decision to make moving forward. I simply wouldn't trust Balotelli enough to start him, especially after seeing the fine form of Di Natale and Cassano. If I were making the decisions, Balotelli would start on the bench moving forward.
We'll see if Prandelli agrees.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets really wanted to have another.
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