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Immobile, who plays for Torino, scored a hat trick last weekend in a warm-up match against Brazilian club Fluminense. Prandelli, however, decided to stick with his main man.

Balotelli was born to Ghanaian immigrants and raised by Italian foster parents, and has often been forced to deal with racist chanting in Italy. However, the abuse hasn’t prevented him from becoming a key player for the national team, including scoring two goals in the semifinal win over Germany at the 2012 European Championship.

Balotelli also nearly found the net in first-half injury time, running deep into the area and enticing Hart to come off his line. The Italy striker stopped, looked toward goal and sent a chip over the keeper’s head but Phil Jagielka headed the ball over the bar.

England’s attack-minded lineup made frequent runs into the Italy area throughout the match, and came close to scoring several times. When Sturridge did score, England team physio Gary Lewin dislocated his ankle while celebrating the goal.

Italy played without the injured Gianluigi Buffon. The 36-year-old goalkeeper, who can play in his fourth World Cup if he is able to recover from an ankle problem, was replaced by Salvatore Sirigu.

The PSG keeper stepped up and made several good saves, but the best may have come in the 77th when he dived to his left to block a free kick from Leighton Baines.

Prandelli praised Sirigu, but hopes Buffon will be back for Friday’s game against Costa Rica.

“We tried to have him back for tonight but weren’t able to,” Prandelli said. “Over the next few days we’ll try to get him back. But I can’t say by when.”