After making his successful move to AC Milan, Mario Balotelli has put in some good performances for his club and Italy - and after their 2-1 win over the Czech Republic, the former Manchester City striker spoke to Gazzetta dello Sport about his country's chances at the 2014 World Cup:
"I think we will be among the favourites," he said. "There are still one or two teams that are above us, but they should fear us, not the other way round."
Italy earned their spot in the World Cup finals courtesy of a Balotelli penalty on Tuesday, and the striker is confident the Azzurri are a strong enough team to win the competition next year in Brazil.
He added: "We are becoming a very strong team that is united and we are able to come out of difficult situations."
Italy have come close to success in recent tournaments, making the final of Euro 2012 before reaching the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup. They will be hoping to improve on their dismal showing at the 2010 World Cup; however, in which they failed to advance past the group stage - drawing with New Zealand and Paraguay in the process.
Italy join Holland as the only European sides to have guaranteed their place in Brazil so far.
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