Euro 2012: Prandelli ditches Balotelli in favour of Di Natale

Updated: 18 June 2012 23:53 IST

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has ditched temperamental striker Mario Balotelli in favour of Antonio Di Natale in the Azzurri's must-win final Euro 2012 Group C clash against Ireland at the Municipal Stadium here on Monday.

Poznan, Poland:

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has ditched temperamental striker Mario Balotelli in favour of Antonio Di Natale in the Azzurri's must-win final Euro 2012 Group C clash against Ireland at the Municipal Stadium here on Monday.

Prandelli made four personnel changes and also switched back to a regular 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield having operated a 3-5-2 system in Italy's previous two games.

Full-backs Ignazio Abate and Federico Balzaretti replace wing-backs Christian Maggio and Emanuele Giaccherini while fit-again Andrea Barzagli comes in for Leonardo Bonucci in the centre of defence.

The final change sees Daniele De Rossi pushed up into midfield having operated as a libero in the back three against Spain and Croatia.

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni named the same starting line-up that lost 3-1 to Croatia in their opening group game meaning Kevin Doyle comes back into the side in place of Simon Cox, who started their 4-0 thumping by Spain.

Italy must win to stand any chance of progressing to the quarter-finals while Ireland have already been eliminated.

Teams:

Italy - (4-4-2)

Gianluigi Buffon (capt); Ignazio Abate, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, Federico Balzaretti; Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Thiago Motta, Daniele De Rossi; Antonio Di Natale, Antonio Cassano

Coach: Cesare Prandelli

Teams:

Ireland (4-4-2)

Shay Given; John O'Shea, Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger, Stephen Ward; Aiden McGeady, Glenn Whelan, Keith Andrews, Damien Duff; Kevin Doyle, Robbie Keane (capt.)

Coach: Giovanni Trapattoni

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR)

Topics : Football Alou Diarra Lech Poznan Mario Balotelli Italy Republic of Ireland Antonio Di Natale Euro 2012
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