Mario Balotelli's two goals against Germany could well represent the best solo performance of the European Championship. One more goal and he'll finish the tournament as its top scorer.

For a 21-year-old forward previously best known for his temperamental behavior, Euro 2012 has also been a personal breakthrough. And that hasn't gone unnoticed by the rest of Italy's squad.

Captain Gianluigi Buffon says ''Mario has done great. ... He's a player with an immense base of quality, which is a great starting point. Secondly he's become part of a group of great champions - and not only in just football terms. ... But most of the merit goes to him.''

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli adds that Balotelli has finally ''accepted advice and responsibility.''