EURO 2012 HAS A NEW KING, RIGHT? 

Fo' sho', and Mario Balotelli is that footballing monarch. Last night’s performance was the perfect riposte to stiff-backed critics who claim he’s only interested in arguing with himself or other people, driving fast cars and setting off explosives in places where he shouldn’t.

Instead, Super Mario put a rocket under the Germans’ plan to reach the final of Euro 2012, knacking them with two brilliantly-taken goals, while picking up a yellow card into the bargain for showing off his muscles. Best of all, he was substituted on 67 minutes after going down with ‘cramp’. Hmmm…

Latest Mario news following his amazing feats are that (a) he did it all for his mum (b) he’s going to try for FOUR goals in Sunday’s final against Spain (c) he’ll be carrying a live budgerigar in his shorts during the final, which he’ll release once he scores the fourth goal, and (d) we just made (c) up.

SO, IT’S SPAIN v ITALY ON SUNDAY. SOUNDS FAMILIAR…

Cast your mind back three weeks to the start of the tournament. Spain befuddled us all with their ‘false nine’ line-up but still managed to come back from behind to earn a draw against the Italians. Meanwhile, Balotelli was subbed after he duffed a sitter.

We knew very little more about the strengths and weaknesses of either side after the game than we did at the start and it’s pretty much impossible to separate them ahead of Sunday’s final. Fingers crossed they come out and play some football and try to win the match in 90 minutes.

William Hill have Spain as favourites at 11/10 with Italy priced at an enticing 11/4 and the draw at 21/10.

COULDN’T SPAIN HAVE AVOIDED THIS CLASH A FORTNIGHT AGO?

Indeed they could. If they’d played out a 2-2 draw with Croatia, in their final group match, both sides would have progressed, knocking out the Italians there and then. But they didn’t.

If they had, it might also have led to a mouth-watering Spain v England final. Nah, we’re talking out of our arses now…

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