Balotelli: Italy can go far

Italy striker Mario Balotelli believes his side has the quality to go far at the 2014 World Cup.

Last Updated: 11/09/13 at 15:17 Post Comment

Mario Balotelli: Thinks Italy can go far at the World Cup

Mario Balotelli: Thinks Italy can go far at the World Cup

The Azzurri on Tuesday night joined Holland as the only European sides to have so far booked their ticket to next year's tournament in Brazil.

Cesare Prandelli's side beat the Czech Republic 2-1 in Turin, courtesy of a Balotelli penalty, to qualify with two games to spare.

"I think we will be among the favourites (in the World Cup)," Balotelli told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"There are still one or two teams that are above us, but they should fear us, not the other way round."

The four-time world champions have qualified in style. Italy remain unbeaten in Group B and are seven points clear of nearest rivals Bulgaria, who beat Malta 2-1 on Tuesday.

The Italians have now won six of their eight qualifying matches, scoring 15 goals and conceding just five times.

"We are a good group," the 23-year-old Balotelli said. "We are becoming a very strong team that is united and we are able to come out of difficult situations."

Italy's fighting spirit emerged against the Czechs as the Azzurri trailed 1-0 at half-time with Balotelli having hit the crossbar and missed several goalscoring opportunities.

"He (Balotelli) will probably never miss those chances again in his career!" joked Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, who scored the Azzurri's equaliser.

"It was strange to see him miss, so we were starting to fear it was a cursed game.

"But Mario is such a decisive player and he proved that against the Czechs."

Balotelli was also surprised at his lack of sharpness early on.

"We played well in the first half and had lots of opportunities to score," the AC Milan frontman said.

"I have never experienced missing so many clear-cut chances as in this game.

"I was unlucky but in the end we were rewarded."

Balotelli was finally able to beat Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech after he earned and then converted the spot kick to bring the Juventus stadium to life.

"I thank the fans and compliment them for their support," Balotelli said. "I wasn't expecting such a nice reaction."

Italy take on Denmark on October 11 before ending qualifying at home to Armenia four days later.

TEAMtalk Facebook Fan Page

The TEAMtalk fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

Footer 365

Fernando Torres: AC Milan open talks with Chelsea over possible transfer

AC Milan have held talks with Chelsea over the transfer of Fernando Torres, according to Sky sources.

Transfer news: Bayern Munich sign defender Mehdi Benatia from Roma

Mehdi Benatia has completed his move to Bayern Munich by signing a five-year contract after a successful medical.

Indian Super League: Ex-Juventus star David Trezeguet eyes Alessandro Del Piero reunion

David Trezeguet welcomes the impending arrival of ex Juventus team-mate Alessandro Del Piero in the Indian Super League

Mail Box

Should Kagawa Play Ahead Of Mata?

That's one question posed in the afternoon mailbox, although it looks like the Japanese playmaker could soon be on his way. Plus, tipping Palace to go down under Warnock...

Well, This Isn't Going That Well Is It?

Plenty of fall out from Manchester United's shambolic 4-0 League Cup defeat, plus thoughts on Van Persie, Arsenal strikers, Benik Afobe, Celtic and Astroturf...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property