Prandelli: Balotelli should play against Mexico

The Italy coach has revealed the striker was on his way back from injury, and shrugged off criticism received for the team’s latest performances

Cesare Prandelli believes star forward Mario Balotelli will be ready when Italy take on Mexico in Confederations Cup action on Sunday.

The enigmatic striker appeared a doubt due to injury approaching the Group A match, but appears to have shaken off the knock to reprise his role in Prandelli’s line-up.

“We’ve taken into account the team’s physical conditions. There’s a good chance Balotelli can play,” the 55-year-old told reporters.

“Our players have great quality, and we have built our team around keeping possession. We are excited to play in a legendary stadium [Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana].”

Prandelli was asked to explain Italy’s draws against Czech Republic and Haiti recently, but the trainer insisted they would not affect the team against Jose Manuel de la Torre’s men.

“We worked on our tactics as well as pride and motivation after that,” he said. “We want to play a great game [against Mexico] and win.

“I’m convinced everyone will peak at the right time.”

Group rivals and tournament hosts Brazil kicked proceedings off by strolling to a 3-0 win against Japan on Saturday.

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