Balotelli, Rossi attack Eagles in London

Enfant terrible of Italian football, Mario Balotelli, and in-form Fiorentina frontman, Giuseppe Rossi, are expected to lead the Azurris of Italy’s attack against the Super Eagles in an international friendly slated for Craven Cottage, London, on Monday.
Balotelli has gone six games without scoring for club and country, but the Azurris boss, Cesare Prandelli, has backed the 23-year-old AC Milan striker to rediscover his scoring touch.
“He’s not happy when he doesn’t score,” said the Azurri coach.
“I told the lad he did well (against Germany), but he wasn’t satisfied. That’s just the way he is.”
Balotelli is likely to have a new strike partner against the African Champions as Rossi steps in for Dani Osvaldo after flu-like symptoms kept him on the bench at San Siro.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Coach Stephen Keshi is expected to use Monday’s match to test the depth of his squad, but his players are eager to finish the year in positive fashion.
“This is an important game for us as we begin our build-up to next year’s World Cup and so we have to take it very seriously,” said Sporting Braga left-back, Elderson Echiejile.
“A good result against one of the top teams in the world will also help our FIFA ranking, leading up to the main draw for the World Cup.”
Nigeria will hope to draw inspiration from their only previous meeting with Italy, which took place at the 1994 World Cup in the United States.
Appearing at the tournament for the first time, Nigeria came within two minutes of a stunning victory over Arrigo Sacchi’s side in a last-16 tie in Massachusetts, only for Roberto Baggio to force extra time with an 88th minute equaliser before settling the game from the penalty spot.
Italy went on to lose the final to Brazil, Baggio missing the decisive spot-kick in a penalty shootout, but Nigeria are now seasoned World Cup campaigners and will be appearing at their fifth tournament next year.