'Excellent' Balotelli leads Italy to win in Poland

Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli and Inter's Giampaolo Pazzini struck either side of the break to give Italy a 2-0 friendly win over Poland on Friday in the first football match at the newly-built stadium in Wroclaw, which will host Euro 2012 matches.

Poland striker Jakub Blaszczykowski missed a penalty five minutes before the end.

Italy's new forward partnership of Balotelli and Pazzini replaced the pint-sized strike force of Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi, whose recent illness and injury setbacks respectively threaten their presence at the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine next June.

"This great game by Balotelli counts for a lot because other than the goal, he played an excellent match. Compliments to him and the team," Italy coach Cesare Prandelli told reporters of the sometimes immature forward.

"Again we haven't conceded and it is important to keep a certain balance. The lads managed the game well, Poland started strongly but we contained them."

Italy, humbled when they crashed out of last year's World Cup as holders in the group stage, easily qualified for Euro 2012.

Earlier on Friday, the Polish team in a statement sent to the state agency PAP asked their fans for strong support but to behave during the game.

Polish stadiums have been plagued by riots in the past months, tarnishing the name of the Euro 2012 co-hosts and leading to a tougher crackdown on hooligans by the government.