Mario Balotelli: 'England can't win the World Cup'

Italy's Mario Balotelli celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Czech Republic during their World Cup qualifier on September 10, 2013
© AFP
Italy forward Mario Balotelli insists that England can't win the World Cup ahead of the meeting between the two sides in Group D.

Italy striker Mario Balotelli has turned up the heat ahead of the World Cup by claiming that England can't win the tournament.

The two sides will meet in Group D on June 14 in the opening game of their respective campaigns, but Balotelli has dismissed suggestions that Roy Hodgson's side are direct rivals to Italy.

"I don't look at England as a team that can win the World Cup," the AC Milan forward is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. "They have some good players, but they are no real rivals for Italy.

"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.

"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."

Italy will also meet Uruguay and Costa Rica in the group stages.

Steven Gerrard of England celebrates scoring the second goal during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group H match between England and Poland at Wembley Stadium on October 15, 2013
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