7M Sport Apps Download 3G
You are here: World Cup 2014 >

Mario Balotelli told there's no guarantee he'll start against England in Group D opener

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 by Dailystar.co.uk

MARIO BALOTELLI is sweating on his place in the Italy side for Saturday's World Cup opener England.

ALL SMILES: Mario is told he could be on the bench against England

Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne combined for all five goals when Italy beat Brazilian club Fluminense 5-3 in a warm-up match Sunday.

In contrast Balotelli hasn't scored for the national team since October and is coming off the back of an indifferent season with AC Milan.

"Clearly we have some healthy competition up front," coach Cesare Prandelli said last night.

"Everyone has a chance. Whoever doesn't play will have to accept the choices. Potentially there could be a lot of stars in this squad."

In contrast to Balotelli's form Immobile was top scorer in Serie A with 22 goals for Torino and joined Borussia Dortmund for £15.5m just before flying to Brazil.

"Goals are always important, even when you score them in training," Immobile said.

"I'm working as hard as I can and if I get the chance I'll be ready.

"The coach makes the decisions and we just need to make our contributions - whether that's from the bench or from the start we need to give our all."

LOOKING OVER HIS SHOULDER: Balotelli's place in the Italy team is under threat

But Prandelli revealed he is unlikely to pair the two strikers.

"Anything is possible but having two centre forwards with so many quality midfielders would be forcing things a bit," he added.

"Anyhow, I'm going to choose on the basis of how we want to face the (opponent) and how the players are physically and psychologically."

But whoever lines up against England in Manuas knows they will have to up their game against England.

Prandelli's men have not won a game since September and go into the finals in poor form.

"We are not sharp enough yet," the coach warned.

"We have done the ‎physical work, trained hard and are in good shape.

"But we know we must improve before we start the tournament against England. We can improve and we will improve."

 England & Germany legends pay tribute to Gerrard & Lahm

Legends pay tribute to Gerrard & Lahm

International retirements follow Wo...
  • Standings
  • Top Scorers
    • A
    • B
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • H
  • Rank Player Country Goals(pen)
Cities & Stadiums
Top 3 of Previous FIFA World Cups
  • Year
  • Winner
  • Runner-up
  • Third place