Italy kicked off their Confederations Cup campaign in perfect fashion with a 2-1 win over Mexico on Sunday night.
Mario Balotelli had his first sight at goal just six minutes in then he was given the ball by Francisco Rodriguez but the AC Milan forward lifted his shot over the bar.
The striker was then denied by a good save from Jose de Jesus Corona a minute later before Mexico went close with Andres Guardado rattling the crossbar after great work from Giovani dos Santos.
Andrea Pirlo had a penalty shout turned down in the 14th minute but the veteran would strike in the 27th minute with a stunning free-kick from distance.
The decision to bring Dos Santos back into the starting XI paid off for the Mexicans seven minutes later though as he was brought down by Andrea Barzagli. Javier Hernandez was given the responsibility and calmly sent Gianluigi Buffon the wrong way from the spot.
Italy could have gone into the lead again in the 52nd minute when Pirlo found Riccardo Montolivo but his shot was kept out by the goalkeeper while Balotelli seemed to be pulled back on the hour mark but the referee waved play on.
Mexico saw Gerardo Zuniga nod wide in the 68th minute but Balotelli would have the final say when he outmuscled his defender before poking the ball home off of the goalkeeper.
The Mexicans tried to find a late equaliser but Italy expertly ran down the clock to ensure that they opened their campaign with a win.