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Balotelli limps out of Italy training
Posted Sunday, June 17, 2012 by YAHOO Sport

Errant and talented forward Mario Balotelli limped out of Italy training on Saturday with a knee problem.

The Manchester City striker will be assessed by the Azzurri medical staff on Sunday to see if he can play in Italy's final Euro 2012 Group C clash with Ireland on Monday.

Balotelli has started both of Italy's previous two games against Spain and Croatia, both of which ended in 1-1 draws.

He was a disappointment against Spain and although he improved against Croatia he was hauled off early in the second period in both games.

His replacement Antonio Di Natale scored Italy's goal against Spain and there has been some media pressure on coach Cesare Prandelli to play the Udinese frontman from the start.

Balotelli, 21, has scored just once in 10 international matches for Italy.

The 2006 world champions must beat the Irish in Poznan to have any chance of progressing to the knock-out rounds but even if they do win, a score draw of 2-2 or higher in the other match would see them take an early flight home.

    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