Krakow, Poland: Mario Balotelli appears set to lose his place in Italy's starting lineup after two disappointing performances at the European Championship.
"He has huge potential, but he needs to improve," Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said on Friday. "He needs to be more ruthless and pay more attention. These are the areas he needs to improve."
Balotelli wasted several chances in the first half of Italy's 1-1 draw with Croatia on Thursday, appearing hesitant in front of goal. The 21-year-old forward also struggled in the opening 1-1 draw with Spain, squandering a golden opportunity by inexplicably slowing down to let Sergio Ramos strip the ball off him.
Antonio Di Natale replaced Balotelli in the second half of both matches and will likely start against Ireland on Monday. Prandelli says he'll make up to four lineup changes in all.