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Suarez vs Balotelli: "bad boy" battle in Brazil

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 by Marca.com

One of them has bitten opponents and been suspended for racist comments, while the other sends his managers potty with his attitude and behaviour. The winner-takes-all Italy-Uruguay fixture on Tuesday will feature a showdown between two of the world's most lethal and controversial strikers, Luis Suarez and Mario Balotelli.

Both have shown their importance for their national sides during the World Cup so far, and both have had an important part to play in England making an early exit, with Roy's boys being shot down by a Suarez brace against Uruguay, and missing out in another close affair against Italy, when Balotelli headed home the decisive goal.

This particular duel of fighting spirit and nose for goal could tip the balance in a crucial fixture that will decide which of the two teams will make it through to the second round of the World Cup. Which of the two stars is coming into the game in better form?

From what we've seen so far in Brazil, Suárez would seem to have the advantage. The 27-year-old Uruguayan actually went under the knife for an operation to his knee just a month ago, but it doesn't seem to have affected him in the slightest.

Having been suspended for 10 fixtures for biting Serbia's Branislav Ivanovic and another eight for racially abusing Frenchman Patrice Evra, Suárez is as unpredictable without the ball as he is with it.

Balotelli is also a loose cannon. The Milan striker, four years younger than Suárez, is able to spend 80 minutes ambling around the pitch without doing much and then settling the game with an explosion of individual genius. It's not surprising that he sometimes exasperates his managers and teammates alike.

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