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Gabriele Gravina, Italy’s chief delegate at the European Under-21 Championships, felt there was an unsporting plot to send the fiery forward for an early bath...

Despite the vital victory over Sweden yesterday, there was a bitter taste in the Azzurri camp, as Mario Balotelli prepares for a one match ban following his sending off against the host nation.

Speaking to Gazzetta Dello Sport, Gabriele Gravina expressed the feelings of the Italian federation, as they remained firm on their stance towards the Inter forward.

“We are undoubtedly critical of the player who should have tried harder to control himself. However, it must be underlined how many fouls he received,” said Gravina.

Should the striker receive a lengthier ban, the federation have expressed their plans to back the player, who they feel was provoked into his sending off.

“The day before the game, Wernbloom had declared to the press that he was aware of Balotelli’s temperament. He had been booked just prior to the sending off for a nasty challenge on Balotelli, and we will present this evidence, should the boy receive a heavy punishment.”

Despite the words of reassurance from the Italian federation, it seems Balotelli still has a lot to learn if he is to control his very short fuse.

Stefano Federici, Goal.com

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