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Thursday, July 3, 2014, 12:02

The five biggest flops of the World Cup

By Agencies

The five biggest flops of the World Cup

Italy's Mario Balotelli controls the ball during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match against Uruguay at the Dunas arena in Natal June 24, 2014. (Photo / Agencies)

It started well enough for Balotelli when he headed home the winner in Italy's 2-1 victory over England in its opener in Manaus.

Yet that was the last goal the Azzurri scored at the World Cup, and Balotelli ended the tournament watching helplessly from the bench as they were eliminated following a 1-0 defeat to Uruguay.

Balotelli had been substituted at halftime in that game, having failed to do anything of note in the first 45 minutes other than pick up a booking to run the risk of a red card.

The Milan striker had been equally out of sorts in the 1-0 defeat to Costa Rica. Cesare Prandelli resigned as Italy coach after the tournament, and he may well reflect that he should have picked Ciro Immobile over a player with an attitude problem who offered virtually nothing.

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