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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
3 days ago

Mario Balotelli still targeting title for Liverpool this season

Roberto Mancini believes Liverpool must teach Mario Balotelli how to behave in order to fulfill his potential.

Mario Balotelli admits that he needs to improve his form in front of goal if Liverpool are to challenge for the Premier League title and if he wants to earn a recall to the Italy national side.

Balotelli, 24, has scored just one goal in eight games since joining from AC Milan in the summer and was consequently left out of Antonio Conte's Azzurri squad for the recent Euro 2016 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Malta.

Liverpool currently sit ninth in the Premier League table with 10 points from seven...

 By Ben Gladwell
4 days ago

Graziano Pelle indebted to 'guru' Louis van Gaal, says Italy striker's father

Andrea Pirlo has hailed his Italy teammates after securing a late win over Azerbaijan in their Euro 2016 qualifier.

The father of Southampton and Italy striker Graziano Pelle says that had it not been for Louis van Gaal, his son would probably be with him, selling coffee, rather than playing in the Premier League and representing his country.

It was the Manchester United manager who signed Pelle for AZ Alkmaar in 2007, when his career in Italy was showing no sign of taking off. In spells with Lecce, Catania, Crotone and Cesena, Pelle scored just 16 goals in four seasons before a move to the Netherlands launched...

Sumeet Paul blog profile  By Sumeet Paul
5 days ago

Milan men Abate, Montolivo and El Shaarawy key to Italy hopes

The ESPN FC panel discuss Iceland's surprising form in their European qualification campaign, AC Milan's ability to return to prominence and Raheem Sterling's work ethic.

Despite winning all four games since replacing Cesare Prandelli as Italy coach, Antonio Conte has failed to convince entirely thus far. The former Juventus boss has guided the Azzurri to joint-top in Group H of Euro 2016 qualifying, but tense wins over Azerbaijan and Malta have left the Italian media with more questions than answers.

While individuals have been praised, the collective have fallen short of impressing with La Gazzetta dello Sport noting that Italy "failed to show up" particularly...

 By Ben Gladwell
6 days ago

Southampton striker Graziano Pelle glad to finally get chance with Italy

Italy defeat Malta in this Group H 2016 Euro qualifier that featured more red cards than goals.

Graziano Pelle was delighted to mark his debut with the winning goal as Italy beat Malta 1-0 on Monday night, although he did show some regret at not being given the chance sooner in his career.

The Southampton forward's goal proved decisive as Italy made it four wins from four, three of which came in Euro 2016 qualifiers, since Antonio Conte took charge after the World Cup.

Conte's arrival has not only brought a new air of enthusiasm to the national team, but it has also provided players like Pelle...

6 days ago

Despite perfect record, Antonio Conte says Italy can do better

Italy defeat Malta in this Group H 2016 Euro qualifier that featured more red cards than goals.

Despite his perfect record as Italy coach, Antonio Conte insists that the Azzurri can do better.

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Conte followed up wins against Norway and Azerbaijan with Monday's tight 1-0 victory in Malta to sit joint top of Group H with Croatia. 

Including the friendly against Netherlands in September, Conte has won all four of his matches in charge since taking over for Cesare Prandelli following the World Cup.

The last two results, however, have provided close calls against much smaller...