Siding with the enemy? Mourinho talks up Italy's World Cup chances

Italy Team 2012 Euro

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes England's group stage opponents are capable of doing "everything".

Drawn into a group of death at the upcoming FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil, England begin the competition against illustrious Italy on Saturday, June 14 in Manaus. 

The Azzurri divide opinion. The most recent of their four World Cup successes arrived in 2006, but when they attempted to defend the trophy in 2010, failed to even navigate a path out of their group having drawn against Paraguay and New Zealand before losing to Slovakia.

Their squad that year contained many top players, including Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Daniele de Rossi and Andrea Pirlo, all of whom are present in Cesare Prandelli's current roster but are also supplemented by Mario Balotelli, Thiago Motta and Marco Verratti.

England, too, have had a slight shake-up, with primary defensive duo Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka succeeding Rio Ferdinand and John Terry, while Daniel Sturridge has come of age and exciting youths such as Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ross Barkley could play key roles.

Speaking to Eurosport Italia, Jose Mourinho - who manages in England for club side Chelsea - believes Italy have the ability to do "everything", to progress through the group and well into the knockout rounds. He also added that "good teams are guaranteed to go out" - is one of them England?

“Italy can do everything,” Mourinho said. “They have a very difficult group in which good teams are guaranteed to go out of the World Cup – but Italy are Italy. They have the players, the talent, the experience and the know-how in those important moments and I think Italy can do everything.

“If they get through the group, Italy are very well suited to straight knockout ties. Tradition and confidence are important too.”

Before England take on Italy, they clash with Ecuador in an international friendly this evening, ahead of a further pre tournament match versus Honduras on Saturday.

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