Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Balotelli needs a great world cup

Back at his boyhood club, Mario Balotelli's AC Milan career started off like a newly wed couple. The honeymoon period between the Italy international and the historic club conisted of 13 goals in 15 games from his January arrival. Fastforward around a year and a half and the Italy international has missed his only two penalties in the famous rossarie shirt, received heavy critiscism and other issues have arisen, along with talk of a divorce surfacing.With these problems rising to the surface, Balotelli is in need of a revival, and with the upcoming World Cup he has a chance.

Last season Balotelli scored 14 goals in 30 appearances for Milan. The campaign was a largely disappointing one for Mario, but he has a chance to right the wrongs of last season and be the figurehead of the Italy team in Brazil. Italy have the pleasure of not having pressure on them this campaign, all eyes on Brazil and Spain. This said, italy are still expected to at least qualify from their group, one in which consists of Uruguay, England and Costa Rica. 

The other forwards Balotelli has to compete with consists of veteran Antonio Cassano and the inexperienced trio of Alessio Cerci, Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne. Balotelli is no doubt the first name on the team sheet out of the three, and will carry the strikeforce. For Mario to kick off the World Cup he needs to have, he has to instantly send a message and make an example out of England. To score and inspire Italy to a win over the country whose media drove him out to join Serie A would be a superb start. This would show that he is here to make an impact and show why he is still one of the best strikers around.  From there he has to focus on guiding Italy past Costa Rica and Uruguay, both teams he has a good chance of being a meance to and should look to score against. 

If Balotelli and Italy out of the group, which looks likely, Italy will have to face in the round of 16 either Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan or Greece. Besides Colombia, and Japan who nearly gave the Italian's a shock at last years Confederations Cup, the Azzuri and Balotelli should look to easily get past, and make at least the quarter finals.

A main criticism of Mario last season was his workrate and attitude during games where things weren't going his way. At times Balotelli seemed disinterested in what was going on. If his team didn't have the ball, Balotelli didn't bother to help out and do his part in tracking back. He sat up high with the oppositions defence when he was needed back to help get the ball. He was also guilty of not putting himself out enough at times, just expecting his teammates to pick him out, not making himself available. If he makes himself an option in the world cup in deadly positions he will no doubt be among the most feared forwards in Brazil, along with playmakers such as Pirlo and Veratti behind the ball.
The numerous times the 23 year old went to ground easily last season was also criticised. Balotelli threw himself to the ground and tried to win a penalty most times he entered the box, but would have been better to take the shot on himself. Whhenever he didn't get the penalty he was looking for, he threw a minature tantrum, and was given a yellow card. At the World Cup he can not revert to these dirty tactics and will be better off having his eye on the goal and not on the feet of defenders. 

Balotelli will also play along one of the world's best playmakers Andrea Pirlo. Mario will have to link up and have great chemistry with his teammates to truly excel in Brazil. His teammates will always be looking for him, but Mario can't just take all the chances. He will have to link with teammates and should look to bring others into the match. Ahead of a midfield maestro in Pirlo, Balotelli will no doubt have a lot of chances and get picked out a lot, and he should finish most of the chances he is presented with.

For Super Mario to lvie up to his self professed name he will have to have super World Cup. He has a great group in which he can start off with and a favourable selection of teams for the first round of knockouts. If he can inspire and be the leader on the field for this Italy team he will show why he is still one of the most talented and promising forwards in the game.

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