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Balotelli expected to face Spain - Striker 'probably' fit for Italy's Euro 2012 opener against champions
Posted Wednesday, June 06, 2012 by Sky Sport

Balotelli expected to face Spain - Striker 'probably' fit for Italy's Euro 2012 opener against champions
Mario Balotelli: Has an adductor strain but is expected to be fit for action

Italy have been boosted by the news that Mario Balotelli is likely to be fit to face title holders Spain in their Euro 2012 opener.

Manchester City striker Balotelli on Monday gave the Azzurri an injury scare after picking up a thigh problem and on Tuesday morning did not train ahead of the squad's flight to Poland.

But head coach Cesare Prandelli was confident the 21-year-old would be ready for Sunday's Group C opener in Gdansk.

"Balotelli, as well as (Christian) Maggio, has an adductor strain," said Prandelli, speaking after arriving in Krakow.

"But it's nothing serious. He will probably be ready for the first match."


Meanwhile, Balotelli will have both his family names on his shirt at Euro 2012.

UEFA's official tournament list shows that the forward has registered 'Barwuah Balotelli' as his shirt name.

Balotelli was born in Sicily as Mario Barwuah to parents of Ghanaian descent.

His African heritage is now being stressed days after Balotelli said in an interview that he will walk off the field if he is racially abused at Euro 2012.

He took the name Balotelli from his foster parents in Brescia, who brought him up after he became ill as a toddler.

Meanwhile, Prandelli has revealed he will bring Cagliari defender Davide Astori into the squad if he thinks Andrea Barzagli is a long-term injury risk.

Last minute

Barzagli suffered a calf injury in last week's 3-0 friendly defeat by Russia and has been ruled out for 20 days.

That has meant the Juventus defender will miss the group stage and Prandelli admits he is now mulling over whether to bring in Astori.

Prandelli said: "We will try to recover Barzagli and we will wait until the last minute.

However, should he not make it, it will be Astori and not (Inter Milan Andrea) Ranocchia to replace him.

"Ranocchia got a muscle strain in the last training session we had in Parma."

Ranocchia was cut from the team last week after Prandelli reduced the squad to 23 players.

    Rank Team W/D/L Pts

    Cities & Stadiums

    The Top 3 Teams of Previous Tournaments

    Year Winners Runner-up Third place
    2008SpainGermanyRussia / Turkey
    2004GreecePortugalNetherlands / Czech Republic
    2000FranceItalyNetherlands / Portugal
    1996GermanyCzech RepublicFrance / England
    1992DenmarkGermanyNetherlands / Sweden
    1988NetherlandsSoviet UnionItaly / West Germany
    1984FranceSpainDenmark / Portugal
    1980West GermanyBelgiumCzechoslovakia
    1976CzechoslovakiaWest GermanyNetherlands
    1972West GermanySoviet UnionBelgium
    1964SpainSoviet UnionHungary
    1960Soviet UnionYugoslaviaCzechoslovakia