Italian press: Who noticed Balotelli was missing?

Mario Balotelli -  San Siro, Milan, Italy

The Antonio Conte era began with Italy beating Holland 2-0 and the Italian media pointed out that Mario Balotelli wasn't missed.

When Antonio Conte was selected as the new Italy boss instead of Roberto Mancini, Mario Balotelli's international future was dealt a blow.

The enigmatic marksman had featured under Cesare Prandelli, whose sides were often overly dependent on the Liverpool new boy.

But Conte's reluctance to put any faith in Super Mario was well known, while Mancini, despite his past run-ins with the striker, is known to have a soft spot for him.

Sure enough, the first game of ex-Juventus boss Conte's reign saw him turn to Ciro Immobile and debutant Simone Zaza to lead the line with Sebastian Giovinco and Mattia Destro coming on from the bench.

Italy triumphed over a 10-man Holland side 2-0 thanks to an Immobile goal and a penalty from Daniele De Rossi and La Stampa responded by hitting out at the absent Balotelli.

"Who noticed that Balotelli was missing?" the newspaper asked in its article under the headline: "This is Italy".

The paper asserted that Immobile and Zaza formed a great partnership and showed lots of promise, creating some great chances in a way that Italy hadn't in Brazil.

Balotelli may have his work cut out to win his place back in the Italy side but if he impresses at Liverpool, Conte will surely be forced to consider him.

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