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Balotelli: Italy will beat England in Brazil

ESPN staff
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Mario Balotelli has publically backed former team-mate Joe Hart as England's No. 1 © Getty Images
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Mario Balotelli has warned England to expect defeat when they face Italy at the World Cup next summer.

The former Manchester City forward says he is ready to make a major impact in Brazil, and he has told England to fear the worst when they meet on June 14.

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"Brazil is a perfect time for me to establish myself as number one striker in the world," Balotell is quoted as saying in The Sun. "The World Cup is where I want to make my mark. The best players always perform on the biggest stages."

The best sides also raise their game when it matters and that is one of the reasons why Balotelli believes the 2006 World Cup winners will have an edge when it comes to the Manaus meeting between the two nations.

"All I will say is that I believe we are a stronger team than England and historically we always perform better than them at the major competitions," Balotelli said. "I don't think it matters so much that Italy v England is in the jungle. It's a World Cup and all the players want to do is represent their country."

Few more so than Balotelli's former team mate at City, Joe Hart, whom Balotelli still believes is one of the best in the business.

"There's no question for me that Joe should be number one for England in Brazil," he said. "He's the best English goalkeeper and the best in the Premier League. The best players in the world can make mistakes, but the class of a player like Joe will always come through."

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