Italy star writes off England

May 30, 2014
Football - World Cup - Bet Now at Bet365

Mario Balotelli doesn't think England can win the World Cup and claims they are "no real rivals for Italy".

The Azzurri open their World Cup account against England but Italian striker Balotelli doesn't see Roy Hodgson's men as legitimate challengers for the top prize.

"I don't look at England as a team that can win the World Cup. They have some good players, but they are no real rivals for Italy," the AC Milan forward is quoted as saying by ESPN.

Italy are 2.50 to see off England in their Group D encounter, while the Three Lions are 3.00 to come out on top.

The former Manchester City striker believes Italy's experience of reaching the latter stages of major tournaments will give them an advantage in Brazil.

Balotelli, who was a member of the Italy squad that dumped England out of Euro 2012 in the quarter-finals on penalties, remains cautious on his side's chances of taking the title, but feels they can challenge for the top prize in Brazil.

He added: "I am not saying that Italy are favourites, but we have the mentality and experienced players to surprise people. I don't think England have that," the former Manchester City striker said.

"We have players who have won the World Cup. I don't think England have a player who knows what it is like to play past the quarter-final.

"In the opening game, we have to respect England because it is important to get off to a good start. They have maybe two or three players who can hurt us, but we feel well prepared for the tournament and expect to start off with a win."

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