15 June 2014 | News Comments

Mario Balotelli on cloud nine after Italy victory

Mario Balotelli was obviously elated after Italy's World Cup started with a 2-1 victory over England.

The former Manchester City striker put his end-of-season struggles at AC Milan behind him and scored the winning goal in Saturday's 2-1 win in Manaus.

Balotelli, who was named the game's best player by FIFA, tweeted: "Man of the match, I'm just so happy.

"A great thank you to my team-mates and let's continue like this.
"Forza Azzurri."

The 23-year-old was far from a certainty to start but was chosen by Italy coach Cesare Prandelli ahead of Serie A's top scorer Ciro Immobile.

Italy next face Costa Rica on Friday in Recife.

Costa Rica stunned Uruguay 3-1 in the other Group D game.

"We are strong and everyone should fear us," Balotelli said to figc.it.

Prandelli, meanwhile, wants to get the most out of Balotelli in Brazil.

"Mario played a great game against England," the Italy boss said. "But I've told him that he can give a lot more considering his extraordinary potential."