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

H

ilarious, thanks for that. But if I may, I do suspect the reason of your partners' ire is not Tottenham, but most probably all the compusilve gambling :)

DannySmith
Backing Costa To Keep Banging 'Em In

T

wo police horses in a paddock. Horse 1: What's with the long face? Horse 2: I'm working St James Park this weekend.

hump3.
Pardew braced for protests

T

wo things. First, I can't stop reading your name as 'Dane Bowers'. Second, you used the words 'philosophy' and 'Redknapp' in the same sentence.

ajsr1982
Can United's Defence Handle Ulloa?

Footer 365

Premiership: Van Gaal wary over a lack of European football

A lack of European football could damage Manchester United's title hopes, believes Louis van Gaal.

Premier League: Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini not concerned by Yaya Toure's form

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has no concerns over the form or commitment of midfielder Yaya Toure.

Transfer news: Chelsea's Jose Mourinho plays down Cristiano Ronaldo transfer talk

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has played down speculation about signing Cristiano Ronaldo.

Mail Box

Be Careful What You Wish For, Gooners

That's the message from a Man United fan in the mailbox. Plus, thoughts on Paul Lambert's new contract, the Alan Pardew dilemma at Newcastle and lots more...

No, Wenger IS To Blame For Failure...

The backlash to the backlash to the backlash sees Arsene Wenger getting a good kicking while we also have mails on Chelsea, Newcastle, Everton and lots more...

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