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1805: It is just ‘BALOTELLI‘ on the back of the forward’s shirt. Interesting. Spain is quickly into its short and snappy passing rhythm but no chances yet.

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1800: Mario Balotelli is sporting a very thin mohican. He looks in the mood. With him and Cassano up front, anything can happen today. Referee Victor Kassai, who was in control of the 2011 Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United, blows his whistle to gets us under way.

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1756: The teams are out. Both sides are captained by their goalkeepers, Iker Casillas for Spain and Gianluigi Buffon for Italy. Anthems being blared out and we’re nearly up and running.

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1749: The PGE Arena is where Group C gets under way in a little over 10 minutes. It’s nearly full already and it does seem as if Spain fans are out in greater number than their Italian counterparts. They’re all enjoying another mini-opening ceremony on the pitch. The players will be on there soon so they’d better hurry up.

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1742: This may be Spain vs. Italy but there are plenty of Poland fans here wearing their national side’s shirt or waving their scarves and flags. Nice to see so many of the locals swept up in football fever.

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1738: sdouglas80: RT (at)themichaelowen: Unbelievable line up for Spain. No striker playing. This could end up looking like a training ground game of possession. (via Twitter)

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1734: Cassano’s partner in attack is mercurial Mario Balotelli. Here at AP HQ, we receieved an official document from UEFA which says that Balotelli will have “Barwuah Balotelli” on the back of his shirt. Barwuah is his African name.

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Story Continues →