The striker scored the winner as the Azzurri won beat Roy Hodgson’s men and team-mate Claudio Marchisio said the intense heat felt like it was causing him to have hallucinations
Mario Balotelli has warned the rest of the World Cup that they must fear Italy after their 2-1 win over England on Saturday.
The Azzurri took the lead over Roy Hodgson’s men with a well-worked set-piece which culminated in Claudio Marchisio driving home from 25 yards, but Daniel Sturridge levelled shortly afterwards to ensure the teams were even at the break.
However, five minutes after the restart, Balotelli nodded in following Antonio Candreva’s pinpoint cross to give Cesare Prandelli’s team the win and the AC Milan attacker is convinced that they put in a top performance considering the opposition and conditions in the heart of the Amazon.
“It’s a great emotional occasion for me, I’ve never played in the World Cup,” the 23-year-old told Sky Sport. “I dedicate the goal to my future wife, my family that was in the stands and my friends.
“We will go step by step from here, England are a good team. We played well, struggling in the heat, but it was important to win.
“All teams are worth fearing but now everone else must also fear us.”
Fellow goalscorer Claudio Marchisio expanded on the sentiment that the temperatures were detrimental in Manaus and insisted that Italy would not assume that knockout stage qualification is already theirs.
“It was important to start in the right way, especially on a day where it was really difficult to play football,” the Juventus midfielder said. “I seemed to have hallucinations because of the heat. We also showed great lucidity.”
“It’s a long way to go, we have seen that with every game you do not know how it might end, we saw Costa Rica’s win over Uruguay, so we will face them with the utmost care – we aren’t through the group stage yet.”