Former Italian defender Marco Materazzi has claimed that his team can go on and reach the semifinals of the World Cup 2014, which in this climate would be a good achievement. Italy go to the World Cup 2014 on a poor run of form, which has seen them not win a single match in the last five. Despite this, Materazzi is of the opinion that Italy will be able to reach the semifinals due to the presence of players like Mario Balotelli and Andrea Pirlo.
Manager Cesare Prandelli has named a very young team that is trying to build on the success achieved in the Euro 2012. Despite being a rank outsider for the tournament, they reached the finals where they lost to Spain. It was largely down to the goals from striker Mario Balotelli, who has been in good form last season. He will be hoping to carry his form into the World Cup. Materazzi is aware that Italy will have a tough group stage due to the matches against England and Uruguay. However, if they reach the knockout stages, then they could go on to potentially reach the semifinals.
Spain, Germany, and Brazil are the favourites to win the tournament. Materazzi lifted the World Cup in 2006 with the Italian national team.
“Italy are the vice-champions of Europe [having finished runners-up to Spain at Euro 2012], and for me that tournament is a World Cup without Brazil and Argentina. Then there are so many variables and always some surprises… but Italy are very strong, trust me. Perhaps no team has the quality of Italy in midfield. Indeed, the quality and quantity: Pirlo, Verratti , De Rossi, Thiago Motta, Marchisio. Who has [the quality of] them? Pirlo and Verratti are two phenomena with their heads and feet,” said the defender.