Carlo Ancelotti believes Italy’s lack of attacking options could undo their World Cup chances, after claiming Mario Balotelli is too inconsistent.
The Azzurri will go level with the host nation on five titles if they win the tournament in Brazil this summer, yet not many pundits are expecting them to do so. Indeed, with England and Uruguay in their pool, along with Costa Rica, some even believe they could suffer a repeat of four years ago when they were eliminated at the group stage.
And whilst Ancelotti rates just Spain, Brazil, Argentina and Germany ahead of Italy, he feels a lack of firepower could see them falter in Rio. There is a lot of pressure on the shoulders of the potentially brilliant Balotelli, but the Real Madrid coach has raised question marks over the Milan ace’s ability to produce the goods on a consistent basis.
“Italy’s real problem is in attack, where they do not have any top players. We are waiting for Balotelli, but Balotelli is simply not consistent,” Ancelotti told Spanish station RNE. “He is a great talent, but he can’t be relied upon and can leave you down to 10 men at any moment. At the moment Italy are just behind Spain, Brazil, Argentina and Germany. Cesare Prandelli is trying to bring down the age of the squad, but his strength remains in the great midfield experience of Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi and Thiago Motta.”
Italy’s hopes have been damaged in recent days following an injury to Giuseppe Rossi. The former Manchester United youngster, now of Fiorentina, was on the wrong end of a challenge from Livorno defender Leandro Rinaudo on his already weakened knee, and it remains to be seen how long the 26-year-old will be out of action for.