05/30/2014 02:49 EDT | Updated 07/30/2014 05:59 EDT

Mario Balotelli: England will not win World Cup

Mercurial Italian superstar Mario Balotelli took a shot across England’s bow ahead of their World Cup opener on June 14.

Balotelli didn’t mince words about England’s chances when talking with The Daily Mail on Friday.

"I don't look at England as a team that can win the World Cup," he said.

"They have some good players, but they are no real rivals for Italy,” he said. “I am not saying that Italy are favourites, but we have the mentality and experienced players to surprise people — I don't think England have that."

England is not considered among the favourites heading into Brazil. Sporting a young side, the Three Lions look like they’re setting themselves up to gain experience for a run in 2018.

Balotelli, 23, and Italy are coming off an appearance in the Euro 2012 final, where they lost to Spain, and that plus a solid qualifying campaign has more than a few picking the Azzurri to make some noise in Brazil.

England and Italy met in the quarter-final of Euro 2012, a match dominated in large portions by Balotelli and the Azzurri. Despite that, Italy needed a penalty shootout to dispatch the English and move on to the semis.

No word whether or not Balotelli took off his shirt during the interview.