Balotelli tells World Cup: You all must fear Italy

The striker scored the winner as the Azzurri beat Roy Hodgson's men and team-mate Claudio Marchisio says that the intense heat felt like it was giving him hallucinations
Mario Balotelli has warned the rest of the World Cup that they must fear Italy after their 2-1 win over England on Saturday.

The Azzurri took the lead over Roy Hodgson's men with a well-worked set-piece which culminated in Claudio Marchisio driving home from 25 yards but Daniel Sturridge levelled shortly afterwards to ensure that the teams were even at the break.

However, five minutes after the restart, Balotelli nodded in following Antonio Candreva's pinpoint cross to give Cesare Prandelli's team the win and the AC Milan star feels that they put in a top performance considering the opposition and conditions in the heart of the Amazon.

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"It's a great emotional occasion for me, I've never played in the World Cup," the 23-year-old told Sky Sport. "I dedicate the goal to my future wife, my family that was in the stands and my friends.

"We will go step by step from here, England are a good team. We played well, struggling in the heat, but it was important to win.

"All teams are worth fearing but now everyone else must also fear us."

Fellow goalscorer Marchisio agreed that the temperatures in Manaus were an obstacle and added that Italy will not get complacent and assume that qualification for the knockouts is already assured.

"It was important to start in the right way, especially on a day where it was really difficult to play football," the Juventus midfielder said. "I seemed to have hallucinations because of the heat. We also showed great lucidity.

"It's a long way to go - we have seen that, with every game, you do not know how it might end. We saw Costa Rica's win over Uruguay so we will face them with the utmost care - we aren't through the group stage yet."