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Italy chief Riva excited seeing Cassano, Balotelli with Azzurri

Italy technical chief Gigi Riva says fans can be excited about a new team including Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli.

With Sampdoria striker Cassano and Inter Milan youngster Balotelli both set to feature tonight against Ivory Coast, Riva says coach Cesare Prandelli is making major changes to the Azzurri's style of play.

"I am truly curious to see them at work. Cassano and Balotelli are talents sent down from Heaven, they are so natural with the ball at their feet.

"I already worked with Cassano in two European Championships. In Portugal he was among the best, while he never caused problems in Austria and Switzerland," insisted the Azzurri legend.

"OK, he is a little exuberant, but he really wants to do well and prove himself. He has changed, both in his behaviour and his attitude during training."

Many have given the credit for Cassano's maturity to new bride Carolina, a professional water polo player.

"When I saw the wedding ring on his finger, I told Antonio: 'Now you've got someone keeping an eye on you.' Having a wife who is an athlete means he can follow her good advice."

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