Mesut Özil Had A Rough Day At Euro 2012 On Sunday (GIF)
Italy’s Mario Balotelli Scores A Wonder-Goal Against Ireland At EURO 2012 (Video)
After starting in Italy’s first two games of the Euro 2012 tournament against Spain and Croatia, Mario Balotelli couldn’t manage to score a single goal. That lack of offense, along with a nagging knee injury, cost the Manchester City striker his spot in the Azzurri’s starting XI during their final group stage match against Ireland in Poznan yesterday.
But after replacing Udinese striker Antonio Di Natale in the 74th minute, Balotelli may have regained his place in Cesare Prandelli’s starting line-up, thanks to this wonder-goal.
With Spain leading 1-0 in the other Group C match following an 88th minute goal from Jesús Navas, Italy knew that all they needed was a victory (and hope Spain didn’t give up an equalizer to Croatia), and they would book themselves a spot in the quarterfinals. Ireland certainly wasn’t making things any easier on their opponents, as they held the Azzurri within one goal through 89 minutes of play, but in the 90th minute of the match, Balotelli help seal the victory for his country, as he beat an Irish defender to a corner kick and volleyed the ball past his former Manchester City teammate, Shay Given, giving Italy the 2-0 lead.
Whether Balotelli’s goal will help him regain his spot in Italy’s starting XI remains to be seen, but yesterday’s match did serve as a reminder that Balotelli remains a key component in his country’s offensive attack. And if they hope to win their first European Football Championship title since 1968, they’ll need more goals like this one from the 21-year-old phenom.