Continued from page 1

Balotelli’s best chance came midway through the first half, but Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas pushed Federico Balzaretti’s cross away just as the 21-year-old striker was lining up a header from close range.

A goal would have given Balotelli sole possession of the tournament scoring lead. Still, his three goals left him tied with five other players, giving Italy hope for the future.

“After a loss, you never accept it with serenity. But as time passes, we have to realize that what we did was extraordinary,” Prandelli said. “We really showed courage and had a great tournament.”