Could Mount Balotelli erupt in Kiev?
If there is to be any repeat of David Beckham in 1998 or Wayne Rooney in 2006, England will be hoping that it is Mario Balotelli that explodes in Kiev and gives Roy Hodgson’s men a better chance of reaching the semi-final.
Balotelli, or the Italian ticking time bomb as he is being dubbed, will surely be targeted by England players as both Beckham and Rooney were in France and Germany respectively.
The Manchester City man has the ability to win the tie for Italy through his wonderful talent and skill but could put their semi-final place in jeopardy with his short fuse and temper.
@Bonafide_fb knows that Balotelli will go one way or the other during the game and he tweeted: “You just know that Balotelli is going to do something crazy against England, sick goal or typical madness.”
Twitter user Marc Abraham is one England fan who wants the team to target Balotelli and get him into trouble: “Well played England. Now how quickly can we get Balotelli sent off on Sunday then? #Euro2012”
Balotelli will need to control his anger and channel his talent into guiding his side into the last four if he is to be considered a successful player in this tournament.
Balotelli’s top five English bust-ups
Super Mario vs Rooney
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O10whb5b3kU – The comparisons between Balotelli and Rooney are unmistakable as two of the world’s best but most tempestuous players. Rooney will surely be targeted by the Italian defence in the same way as Balotelli is sure to be by England but whichever player handles the pressure best should end up on the winning side.
Super Mario vs Johnson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=vDzItExXHoQ&NR=1 – Balotelli and Johnson clashed during a game between Liverpool and Manchester City last season which ended up seeing the Italian sent off. Johnson may have to cover if Balotelli uses his pace to skip past Terry or Lescott but Johnson will need to keep cool and not seek revenge.
Super Mario vs Parker
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6caNpwDYJ98 – This infamous stamp by Balotelli on Parker went unnoticed by the officials and Parker may want to get his own back on the Italian. But for the sake of England’s chances, the battling midfielder must stay calm and protect his defence from Balotelli’s rampaging runs.
Super Mario vs Ferdinand
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/3531244/Mario-Balotelli-and-Rio-Ferdinand-in-Wembley-bust-up.html - Despite Ferdinand not being at Euro 2012, this article shows how Balotelli can clash with any English player on any given day. In this FA Cup semi-final, Balotelli and Ferdinand had a war of words in a high pressure situation. Balotelli may look to wind up John Terry with a similar tactic in Kiev on Sunday but the former England captain must not rise to the striker’s antics.
Super Mario vs Richards
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/dec/15/mario-balotelli-micah-richards-confrontation - Balotelli famously had this training ground bust-up with Manchester City teammate Micah Richards which proves that Italian players may be equally at risk as the English players this weekend. All has not been well in the Italy camp of late and rumours that Balotelli is not happy with manager Cesare Prandelli could resurface in Kiev.