Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Forward Mario Balotelli
"Super Mario" definitely lived up to his nickname, and portrayed the calmness of Mr. Hyde rather than the hysteria of Dr. Jekyll.
Mario Balotelli is an enigmatic individual who is seemingly always in the spotlight—whether it be in a positive or negative manner. His personality does cater to the criticism that he's faced in the past, but he displayed a maturity in this tournament.
His goal against Ireland was impressive, and his magnificent two-goal performance against Germany led Italy to the finals.
However, his lack of demonstrative behavior in a pressure-filled environment does speak volumes. There were no rash challenges, nor were there any major instances of vocal displeasure targeted at either the referees or opposing players.
And this was done in the midst of racial abuse from opposing team's fan bases during matches.
In essence, this act of "growing up" could be a spring board for Balotelli taking the next step in becoming a world class striker.
Talent has never been an issue, but his theatrics on and off the pitch have been detrimental to his game.
If this tournament is any indication, then the Italian talisman has turned the corner with the promise of becoming a consistent world class performer.