Maradona: Prandelli must hope Balotelli explodes

The Argentina legend believes the Italians can exploit the shaky defence of their German opponents and insists that Balotelli will explode into life during their semi-final clash
Argentina legend Diego Maradona believes that Cesare Prandelli's Italy side have a chance to beat hot favourites Germany and reach the final of Euro 2012.

Despite a clinical attacking display in the quarter-final against a relatively weak Greece team, the 51-year-old believes the Azzurri should take confidence from the two goals Joachim Low's side conceded.

Maradona wrote in his Indian Times column: "Coach Low favours an offensive team. He likes his team to push up the field, to play quick, and take advantage of lapses in opposing defences.

"If one can pick a weakness in the German machine, it’s the defence.

"Against Greece, a quick counter-attack by Salpingidis and Samaras, exposed Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber, and Philipp Lahm, and beat a surprised Manuel Neuer. If Greece can score on this German defence, so can Italy."

Maradona also believes the hot-headed Mario Balotelli will prove key to the success of Prandelli's side and that the Manchester City man must explode into life and fire his country into a final clash with Spain.

"The Italian forwards Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano have scored only one goal each in this championship," he continued. "Against England, the forwards had eight chances, two posts and zero goals.

"This, despite excellent opportunities that came their way.

 "The Italians will try to achieve control, defend with order, and hope that Balotelli can finally explode."