Balotelli: I’ve never missed liked that before

Mario┬áBalotelli┬áadmits the numerous misses against the Czech Republic shook him. ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs never happened to me before.ÔÇØ

The striker hit the bar in the first half and missed several sitters one-on-one with Petr Cech, but eventually converted the decisive penalty in a 2-1 Italy victory.

Mario_Balotelli_Czech_Republic_Italy

ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs never happened to me before. I was unlucky, but I kept trying to the end,ÔÇØ he told RAI Sport.

ÔÇ£It is becoming a good group and above all a great squad, as we manage to climb out of difficult situations.

ÔÇ£When┬áCech┬áparried that shot I thought he would get it if I fired low, so I tried to raise the finish, but I lifted it too much.ÔÇØ

There was some jeering after the series of misses, but the crowd at theJuventus Stadium quickly began chanting his name in support.

ÔÇ£I thank the fans and compliment them, as I wasnÔÇÖt expecting such a nice reaction. I thank them.ÔÇØ

The Azzurri started out with a 3-4-2-1 system, then switched to a 4-3-3 withDani Osvaldo on for the second half.

ÔÇ£I feel better with a striker by my side, but we had many chances in the first half too. I personally prefer to have another forward there.ÔÇØ

Balotelli was booked and risked a second card when reacting to a foul, but managed to hold back.

ÔÇ£At times you can react because they go over the top, at times you manage to control yourself. You always try to control yourself, but itÔÇÖs not easy on the pitch.

ÔÇ£I was trying to get the ball and didnÔÇÖt even see the player, so in my view it wasnÔÇÖt even a yellow. I hit him, but it was not voluntary.ÔÇØ

Italy have qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the first European team to achieve this along with Holland.

ÔÇ£I think weÔÇÖre among the┬áfavourites. There are still one or two teams who are above us, but they should fear us, not the other way round.ÔÇØ

This week Balotelli raised eyebrows when he missed the visit of Minister for Integration Cecile Kyenge, but insists it was a storm in a teacup.

ÔÇ£I am not interested in what people say. I already met Minister┬áKyenge, I will see her again in future and it was not a mandatory meeting. I was asleep, as were many other players in the squad, but nobody in the media mentioned them.

ÔÇ£I donÔÇÖt know what IÔÇÖm supposed to represent for you.ÔÇØ