Azzurri will bring Balotelli

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will include Man City striker Mario Balotelli in his squad to face Ireland at the European Championships.

“We have to give another chance to talented players,” said Prandelli, who names his squad next week. “And talent he has. But he shouldn’t put a foot wrong and I’m certain he won’t.”

Prandelli believes his side will be weakened by injuries and loss of form.

“The potential of the side has been cut by 50%, because of injuries in the last six or seven months or because so many players have lost their place.”

Villarreal’s Giuseppe Rossi is out after rupturing a knee ligament, while fellow striker Antonio Cassano of AC Milan only returned in April after six months off with a heart problem. Alessandro Matri and Giampaolo Pazzini have lost their places at Juventus and Inter Milan while Balotelli has not played since his latest suspension.

* Newcastle playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa is a surprise inclusion in the initial list of 12 overseas-based players selected for France’s Euro 2012 training squad. Ben Arfa is joined by club-mate Yohan Cabaye and Man City pair Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy, centre-halves Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) and Younes Kaboul (Spurs), Man United full-back Patrice Evra and Chelsea winger Florent Malouda. The final 23-man squad must be submitted to UEFA by May 29.


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