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

m only commenting on this (I don't care about Liverpool) because F365's twitter said I had call Matt Stanger a tw*t (which I don't agree with anyway) but I just wanted to be the first. Am I the first?

tk421
Trial And Error Rather Than Transition

S

unday, Sunday. Will there be a fan of either team, who if they are winning after 80 mins, won't still be nervous? This could be anything from 0-0 to 5-5, and no one would bat an eye.

megabrow (cufc)
A Season Of Continuous False Dawns

T

his year I am getting F365 a whack-a-mole game but with Brendan instead of the mole (Like the one with JD on Scrubs) and every time he pops up he says something. Outstanding Whack!, Character Whack!, Magnificent Whack!, Wonderful Composure Whack, Whack f**king Whack. Hours of fun.

hump3.
Trial And Error Rather Than Transition

Footer 365

Premier League: Neil Warnock blasts officials after Crystal Palace's 3-0 defeat at Man City

Neil Warnock said the decision to disallow a Crystal Palace goal in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City was "disgraceful".

Jose Mourinho rejects idea of retrospective action against divers

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says it would be a "disaster" to punish divers retrospectively.

Premier League: Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal are prepared to spend in January

Arsene Wenger says he won't buy for the sake of it but has vowed to spend in January if the right player is available.

Mail Box

More Players In The Wrong Bloody Shirt

Plus Cristiano Ronaldo, who looks 'heart-breakingly well-suited to a Real Madrid shirt' according to one United fan. Plus, words from the good doctor and plenty more...

Players Plainly Wearing The Wrong Strip...

There are some players who just look plain daft in whatever shirt they're wearing. Like Cesc and Robin. It's a cracking mailbox with a load of different themes...

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