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Football: Balotelli lauds goal but rues missed chances

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Mario Balotelli admitted he should have scored more in a 2-2 friendly draw with Brazil despite scoring a superb equaliser for the Azzurri.

Italy, the four-time World Cup winners, went in for the half-time break 2-0 down to the five-time champions following goals from Fred and Oscar.

However Cesare Prandelli switched from from a two-man attack to a 4-3-3, giving Italy more width.

It proved a decisive move, with two goals coming from Italy in the space of three minutes courtesy of Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi and Balotelli.

Balotelli's strike, a looping drive from the edge of the area which landed in the top corner of Julio Cesar's goal, was particularly impressive.

But the AC Milan striker, who has scored seven goals in six games for the Rossoneri since joining from Manchester City in January, was left rueing missed chances earlier in the match.

"I should have put some earlier chances away in the first half," said Balotelli, who gave himself a mark of "six out of ten".

Balotelli said he was "more comfortable" playing in the 4-3-3 alongside club-mate Stephan El Shaarawy and Italy debutant Alessio Cerci, who plays for Torino.

Prandelli, meanwhile, believes Balotelli showed a glimpse of his full potential.

"The first thing he thinks about is the team, and that's the mark of a champion," said the Italian coach, whose side will look to reinforce their lead in World Cup 2014 qualifying Tuesday away to Malta.

"He has the potential to be one of the best five players in the world. He just needs to be more consistent."

Brazil, hosts of the 2014 World Cup, do not participate in qualifying but could meet Italy in June at the Confederations Cup.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130322/football-balotelli-lauds-goal-rues-missed-chances