The Italy forward believes Roy Hodgson’s team does not have the same level of experience as Cesare Prandelli’s squad, and thinks the Azzurri can cause a shock in Brazil
Mario Balotelli feels Group D rivals England will be no match for Italy at the upcoming World Cup.
The Milan striker could lead the line for Cesare Prandelli’s side when the nations meet in Manaus on June 14 for their opening game of the tournament in Brazil.
In what will be Balotelli’s first outing at the tournament, the 23-year-old dismissed any chance of the Three Lions winning the competition or posing a threat to the Azzurri, and says his “experienced” side can spring a surprise in South America.
“I don’t look at England as a team that can win the World Cup,” The Daily Mail quotes him as saying.
“They have some good players, but they are no real rivals for Italy.
“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.”
Four-time winners Italy will also contest Group D with Uruguay and Costa Rica as they seek to overcome the disappointment of 2010 – where they bowed out at the pool stage without a win.
With many of the current squad crowned world champions in Germany four years earlier, Balotelli feels their experience could give them an extra advantage against Roy Hodgson’s men.
“We have players who have won the World Cup,” he explained.
“I don’t think England have a player who knows what it is like to play past the quarter-final.”