Fabio Capello has doubts that AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli will ever grow up ahead of his notable absence from his side's clash with Juventus.
The striker will serve the third and final game of his suspension for the Bianconeri tie on Sunday for intimidating the referee in a 2-1 loss to Napoli.
Balotelli is set to be a key figure for Italy at World Cup 2014 next summer and Capello believes that the Azzurri could be a surprise package alongside favorites such as Spain, Germany and Brazil.
"I do not know if Balotelli will ever mature," the current Russia coach told Metronews.it. "I hope so. "Italy are an interesting team - they could be a wildcard at World Cup 2014.
"Brazil will be playing at home and the fans proved to have been a great help during the Confederations Cup. Argentina are getting stronger. Germany are still one of the best teams and, of course, you cannot forget Spain. But there's always a surprise.
The ex-England manager refused to take Russia’s potential qualification for the tournament for granted, as his side leads its qualification group with two games to play.
"I wouldn’t call matches against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan straightforward," Capello added. "You have to have respect for your opponents.
"We’re very prepared. We have two chances of reaching the World Cup. It would be foolish to waste them."
Capello also offered his thoughts on who will thrive in Europe this season and, as well as predicting Bayern Munich as a huge favorite, doubts any Premier League club can lift the Champions League trophy in 2013-14.
"It will be an exciting season," the Italian, 67, added. "Bayern and Borussia Dortmund will try to repeat their performances. Guardiola is having success at Munich, but it will not be easy to overcome the achievements of [Jupp] Heynckes.
"I would not consider the English teams as possible winners. I also wonder what Real Madrid and Barcelona will be able to do with their new coaches."
- Sports & Recreation