Balotelli's absence weakens Italy, says Mata

The Spain star feels that the Azzurri are worse off without the flamboyant striker and is confident that his side can get a positive result in the Confederations Cup semi-final
Juan Mata believes that the absence of Mario Balotelli could play into Spain's hands in Thursday's Confederations Cup semi-final against Italy.

15/8 Juan Mata is 15/8 with William Hill to score anytime in Spain v Italy
The AC Milan striker left the Azzurri camp due to a strained thigh muscle and the 25-year-old thinks that Cesare Prandelli's side will be weaker without their star attacker.

"Balotelli is a fundamental player for Italy," Mata was quoted as saying by Marca.

"We have seen plenty of videos of them and they rely heavily on Balotelli. His absence will be a blow but they are still a competitive team."

The Chelsea star then went on to stress that Spain must remain cautious against Italy but insists that they will try to play their own game.

"Our style of play will remain attacking. We want to have a lot of possession to create chances and cause them trouble," he continued.

"It's true that this could prove to be problematic against Italy, though. They will be playing with a lot men behind the ball but we will do our utmost to beat them."