Mario expects good things in Brazil

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

Last Updated: 11/09/13 at 15:21 Post Comment

Mario Balotelli: Has great faith in Italy's World Cup bid

Mario Balotelli: Has great faith in Italy's World Cup bid

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

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.


Sky Bet Free Bet Club: £10 free bet - £5 free every week


More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

d like to add players who push their team-mates out of the way to celebrate on their own

exhausted
The Ten Most Hated Things In Football

I

f I were Manuel Pellegrini I would keep quiet and hope the Board didn't notice City not winning anything. If he isn't sacked I'd be astonished.

lfcfan80
Pellegrini: I won't be sacked

S

till I suppose it still gives him at least another year in the job. By the time it comes around , he can always make up another excuse. First it was 3 months , then a year .....Next year ? Whats his excuse with Van Persie ?

spud1
Di Maria 'could peak next year'

Footer 365

Neville 'concerned' over Reds form

Gary Neville has admitted that he is "concerned" that a resurgent Liverpool could qualify for the Champions League ahead of Manchester United.

Boro claim top spot as Derby lose

Middlesbrough became the new Championship leaders as they took advantage of Derby's latest slip by beating Millwall 3-0.

Aston Villa 2-1 West Brom: Benteke's late show helps end Villa's long wait for a win

Tim Sherwood recorded his first win as Aston Villa boss as Christian Benteke's late penalty helped beat West Brom 2-1.

Mail Box

United's No 2 Isn't That Bad Either...

One mailboxer is getting in a flap about the claim Man Utd would struggle without De Dea, while there's some anger directed at Chelsea...

There Are Mitigating Circumstances For LVG

One Mailboxer is admant there are mitigating circumstances to LVG's struggles at Manchester Utd and he offers his four signings for next season...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company