England 1 Italy 2: Mario Balotelli dedicates his match-winner to fiancee Fanny Neguesha

Italian striker nodded home the winner from close range in Manaus

Tom Sheen@Tom_Sheen
Sunday 15 June 2014 14:44
Mario Balotelli heads Italy in front
Mario Balotelli heads Italy in front

A delighted Mario Balotelli dedicated his match-winning header to his future wife before taking to Instagram to pose with his man of the match trophy.

The 23-year-old scored Italy's the decisive goal just after half-time, heading home Antonio Candreva's cross at the back post. Claudio Marchisio had out the Azzurri in front with a superb strike from range before Daniel Sturridge equalised two minutes later, turning in Wayne Rooney's cross.

Balotelli proposed to Fanny Neguesha, who was wearing an Italy shirt inside the Arena Amazonia last night, earlier this week.

"It's a unique experience," he toldGazzetta dello Sport after scoring in his first World Cup match

"I've never played a World Cup. It was my first World Cup match and it was a wonderful sensation to experience.

"My goal is dedicated to my future wife who is here and my friends who are at home."

After beating England Cesare Prandelli's men now face Costa Rica who shocked Uruguay with a 3-1 victory earlier in the evening.

"We do not fear anyone," he added. "But we have to play without getting ahead of ourselves, and only think of Costa Rica. We must keep our feet on the ground otherwise we're going nowhere."

Balotelli also lamented the hot and humid weather in the jungle city which reached 30C. The game didn't feature a drinks break, either.

"The climactic conditions were just terrible tonight in Manaus. It was far too hot. Italy always suffer, but the important thing is to win."

Balotelli later took to Instagram to post a picture with the man of the match trophy (above), writing: "Man of the match today so happy!A big Thanks to my team mates! Come on guys!"

Italy face Costa Rica on Thursday 19 June.

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