Udinese striker Antonio di Natale is happy to mentor Manchester City ace Mario Balotelli.

It was a 2-0 victory for Italy last night over the Republic of Ireland thanks to goals from Antonio Cassano and Balotelli, even though Di Natale had his first start of the tournament.

"There are many good strikers here and together we must all try to help the Nazionale when we are needed.

"Antonio is easy to play with, as he brings the ball to you and provides good assists. I'm glad he and Mario scored, as they needed a goal.

"Mario has a lot of quality, but he's only 21 and just needs to stay calm. I talked to him before the game and said if he came on then he'd score, because you only need 20 minutes.

"I must thank the Coach, as with two years of work with many players he then ended up giving me a chance for the Euros.

"In two years I scored many goals and the Coach waited to the end to see what would happen with Giuseppe Rossi, but we all wish him well for the future."