KRAKOW, Poland (AP) – Perhaps nobody epitomizes Italy's struggle through adversity more than defender Leonardo Bonucci.
Placed under investigation for match-fixing last month, Bonucci has been thrust into a starting role at the European Championship following injuries to fellow defenders Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini.
When temperamental forward Mario Balotelli nearly exploded with anger after scoring against Ireland, it was Bonucci who rushed to placed his hand over the striker's mouth.
Bonucci made a similar transformation from benchwarmer to protagonist with Juventus, helping the squad win the Serie A title last month.
He credits a mental coach with his sudden success, but will be tested by England star Wayne Rooney in the quarterfinals.