WARSAW (Sporting Alert) — Mario Balotelli returns to the starting line-up for Italy for tonight’s Euro 2012 quarter-finals clash with England at the Olympic Stadium here in Warsaw.
The Manchester City forward was left on the bench for Italy’s final group game against Ireland, but came on to score a wonder goal towards the end of the win.
Balotelli now returns and promises to give his fellow teammates from Manchester City a very difficult time as the Italians look to seal a semi-finals place and play against Germany.
Meanwhile, despite several calls for Theo Walcott to start in tonight’s contest, England manager Roy Hodgson has again decided to go with James Milner on the left-flank with Ashley Young playing on the other side.
Wayne Rooney, who returned with the winning goal against France start up front with his fellow Manchester United strike partner Danny Welbeck.
Hodgson said: “We need to take the game by the scruff of the neck because if Italy have the chance to control it, it could be a very long night for us.”
England vs Italy
England: Hart, Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole, Milner, Gerrard, Parker, Young, Rooney, Welbeck
Subs: Green, Kelly, Walcott, Henderson, Carroll, Baines, Jones, Jagielka, Downing, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Defoe, Butland
Italy: Buffon, Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Balzaretti, Pirlo, Marchisio, De Rossi, Montolivo, Balotelli, Cassano
Subs: Sirigu, Maggio, Chiellini, Ogbonna, Thiago Motta, Di Natale, Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis
Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal)