Prandelli: You have to accept defeat
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Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has told forward Mario Balotelli he will emerge stronger from the shattering experience of tonight's UEFA EURO 2012 final defeat by Spain in Kyiv.

The Azzurri conceded twice in each half as they were overpowered by the defending champions. It left Balotelli shattered after he had gone into the game with such high hopes.

The Manchester City man stormed straight down the tunnel at the final whistle, and shrugged off the attempts of Italian officials to stop him. Balotelli eventually returned, however, to collect his medal.

"I told Mario [Balotelli] that these are experiences you have to deal with and have to accept," said Prandelli. "You have to hold your hands up and say the opponents were better, accept defeat.

This has happened to a number of players, and will happen again, but this is what sport is all about. 
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli

"But you also have to make sure this helps you going forward and you can grow from the experience. This has happened to a number of players, and will happen again, but this is what sport is all about."

Strangely, Italy enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half, but still found themselves two goals down through David Silva and Jordi Alba.

However, an injury to their final substitute, Thiago Motta, within four minutes of his introduction, forced Italy to complete the final half hour with ten men.

And, in their third game in a week, which included that draining period of extra time against England, it was just too much. "We've had a terrific European Championship and the only regret is the fact we didn't have a few extra days to rest up before this game," said Prandelli.

The Italy manager confirmed both Motta and Giorgio Chiellini, who had to be replaced in the first half, had both suffered hamstring injuries.