Italy fight back to record a 2-2 draw against Brazil – Neymar “big fan” of Balotelli
Santos forward Neymar claims he is a “big fan” of the former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli. The Brazilian football prodigy faced Mario Balotelli in a friendly 2-2 draw against Italy on Thursday.
Goals from Mario Balotelli and Daniele De Rossi helped Italy to record a comeback after going two goals down in the first-half. Fred and Oscar stole the show in the first-half of the game, but a superb fight from Italy allowed them to salvage a point.
Many see the 2-2 draw as a positive result for Italy, who are scheduled to play against Malta in the World Cup qualifying stage next week.
Neymar claims Mario Balotelli has inspired him both on and off the football field. Neymar and Mario Balotelli are recognized as two of the most notorious strikers in the world.\
“He's a player that I'm a big fan of. A great player and great person,” Neymar said. “I think the Selecao were good. We are getting better with each passing day and you can see our team improving. It's a great team, with players of real quality.”
Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Julio Cesar was left frustrated by his side’s inability to extend and defend their two-goal lead at half-time. The Brazilian shot-stopper claims the draw came through Brazil’s failings rather than Italy’s glory.
“The game was in our hands, but we stalled,” Julio Cesar said. “They scored two goals from our errors more than by their merit. Of course they had merit, but they scored from things we got wrong.”
In spite of scoring the equalizing goal for Italy, Mario Balotelli was heavily criticized for squandering a number of chances of scoring goals. Truth be told, Italy could have easily won the game had they capitalized on these goalscoring opportunities.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli defended Mario Balotelli, claiming the AC Milan striker had a great performance for the Azzurri.
“[Balotelli] had the best opportunities and scored a great goal,” Cesare Prandelli told RAI. “The important thing is that he is at the top of his game during competitions.
“We had a great game. We were down 2-0 at break. I looked to transmit the feeling we could score then equalise. We risked a lot being 2-0 down but we were better organised in the second half. It was good spirit from the team. I like us being in this form as it gives us more confidence.”