• World Cup

Balotelli: England can't win the World Cup

ESPN staff
May 30, 2014
Mario Balotelli was part of the Italy side who knocked England out of Euro 2012 © Getty Images

Mario Balotelli does not consider England as contenders for the World Cup and believes Roy Hodgson's side are "no real rivals" for Italy.

England will be facing Italy in their opening game of the tournament in Group D on June 14. They will then take on Uruguay on June 19 and Costa Rica on June 24.

Balotelli was part of the Italy side who knocked England out of Euro 2012 in the quarter-finals on penalties.

And the AC Milan striker has written off England's chances of triumphing in Brazil, saying: "I don't look at England as a team that can win the World Cup. They have some good players, but they are no real rivals for Italy."

Balotelli insists experience is what will give four-time World Cup winners Italy the edge over their opponents.

"I am not saying that Italy are favourites, but we have the mentality and experienced players to surprise people. I don't think England have that," the former Manchester City striker said.

"We have players who have won the World Cup. I don't think England have a player who knows what it is like to play past the quarter-final.

"In the opening game, we have to respect England because it is important to get off to a good start. They have maybe two or three players who can hurt us, but we feel well prepared for the tournament and expect to start off with a win."

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