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Italy 2-2 Brazil: Neymar a 'big fan' of Balotelli

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Seleção star Neymar was full of praise for Italy striker Mario Balotelli after the AC Milan hitman scored a stunning long range effort in last night's 2-2 draw.

Balotelli stole the headlines with his strike but Brazil were left ruing defensive mistakes that allowed the Azzurri to comeback from a two goal deficit.

Neymar told reporters after the match: "He's a player that I'm a big fan of. A great player and great person.

"I think the Seleção were good. We are getting better with each passing day and you can see our team improving. It's a great team, with players of real quality."

Goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who got a hand to Balotelli's goalbound effort but was unable to keep it out, was disappointed with mistakes made by his team-mates which led to the Azzurri's comeback.

"The game was in our hands, but we stalled," the QPR star said. "They scored two goals from our errors more than by their merit. Of course they had merit, but they scored from things we got wrong."

Brazil were ranked 18th in the Fifa world rankings heading into the clash and have been criticised for putting in poor performances of late, but Fernando believes the team put in an excellent display.

"It would have been better if we had left with a win," the 21-year-old Gremio midfielder said. "But the whole team put in a good performance, despite faltering in the second period.

"Lack of fitness is normal, and our legs tired a bit. [The draw] also serves to help us learn and appreciate use of possession, and [we will try] to see more of the ball next time."

Source: Goal.com


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