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Football: Roma lead under pressure as Napoli host Sassuolo

Roma's bid to tighten their grip on Serie A is likely to be kept in check Wednesday when the Italian top flight's whipping boys Sassuolo visit bona fide title challengers Napoli. Roma finished a disappointing seventh last season but are enjoying some time in the spotlight having won their opening four games, including a 2-0 derby win over Lazio Sunday, under new coach Rudi Garcia. Despite feeling buoyant ahead of their visit to Sampdoria, Roma's time in the hot seat may soon be over.

Football: Balotelli gets three-match ban after seeing red

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has been suspended for three matches after his red card in the 2-1 victory over Napoli on the weekend, the Italian football league announced Monday. Balotelli saw red after the final whistle when he received a second yellow card for dissent. The controversial Italy striker will miss Serie A matches against Bologna, Sampdoria and, crucially, champions Juventus. eba/lp/bc

Football: Balotelli penalty streak ends at 21

Mario Balotelli's successful streak of penalties was ended at 21 on Sunday when the Milan striker saw his spot-kick saved by Napoli 'keeper Pepe Reina. Trailing 2-0 at the San Siro, Balotelli won the chance to reduce the arrears for the Rossoneri on the hour only to see former Liverpool 'keeper Reina dive to his right to parry. Balotelli held his head in his hands and despite the former Manchester City striker scoring in injury time Napoli, 2-1 winners, went on to secure their first win against Milan at the San Siro in 27 years.

Italy, Germany and Netherlands eye World Cup

By Mike Collett LONDON (Reuters) - Former world champions Italy and Germany are among seven countries who could confirm their places in next year's World Cup soccer finals in Brazil when the qualifying tournament swings back into action after a three-month break. The Netherlands, three times finalists, could also qualify from Europe with wins on both Friday and Tuesday while Switzerland and Bosnia could go through if they win and other results go their way.

Football: Italy blunted by Balotelli withdrawal

Having seen Confederations Cup semi-final opponents Spain neatly dismantle Nigeria in their final group game on Sunday, the last thing Italy needed was an injury to increasingly influential striker Mario Balotelli. The 22-year-old has been ruled out of the tournament due to a torn thigh muscle, and his absence only serves to emphasise his growing importance to Cesare Prandelli's side. It would have been unthinkable a little over a year ago, but the controversy-prone AC Milan striker is now the player around whom Italy's whole attacking strategy revolves.

Football: Balotelli out of tournament, returns to Italy

Italy striker Mario Balotelli will play no further part in the Confederations Cup and is to return home to receive treatment on a thigh injury, team doctor Enrico Castellacci announced on Monday. The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) had previously revealed that Balotelli would not play in Thursday's semi-final against Spain after scans revealed a torn muscle in his left thigh.

Football: Balotelli out of tournament, returns to Italy

Italy striker Mario Balotelli will play no further part in the Confederations Cup and is to return home to receive treatment on a thigh injury, team doctor Enrico Castellacci announced on Monday. The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) had previously revealed that Balotelli would not play in Thursday's semi-final against Spain after scans revealed a torn muscle in his left thigh.

Football: Balotelli out of tournament, returns to Italy

Italy striker Mario Balotelli will play no further part in the Confederations Cup and is to return home to receive treatment on a thigh injury, team doctor Enrico Castellacci announced on Monday. The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) had previously revealed that Balotelli would not play in Thursday's semi-final against Spain after scans revealed a torn muscle in his left thigh.

Football: Italy blunted by Balotelli withdrawal

Having seen Confederations Cup semi-final opponents Spain neatly dismantle Nigeria in their final group game on Sunday, the last thing Italy needed was an injury to increasingly influential striker Mario Balotelli. The 22-year-old has been ruled out of the tournament due to a torn thigh muscle, and his absence only serves to emphasise his growing importance to Cesare Prandelli's side. It would have been unthinkable a little over a year ago, but the controversy-prone AC Milan striker is now the player around whom Italy's whole attacking strategy revolves.

Football: Italy blunted by Balotelli withdrawal

Having seen Confederations Cup semi-final opponents Spain neatly dismantle Nigeria in their final group game on Sunday, the last thing Italy needed was an injury to increasingly influential striker Mario Balotelli. The 22-year-old has been ruled out of Thursday's last-four tie in Fortaleza due to a torn thigh muscle, and his absence only serves to emphasise his growing importance to Cesare Prandelli's side.
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