Pirlo: Balotelli could be crucial to Italy World Cup bid

Andrea Pirlo believes Italy's bid to win the FIFA World Cup could be dependent on the form of Milan striker Mario Balotelli.

Cesare Prandelli's charges booked their spot in Brazil by finishing top of UEFA qualifying Group B, winning six and drawing four of their 10 matches.

Balotelli was an integral part of Italy's unbeaten qualifying campaign, scoring five goals, and the 23-year-old will be looked upon to help Italy through a tricky World Cup group featuring Uruguay, England and Costa Rica.

Experienced Juventus midfielder Pirlo feels the form of Balotelli could be crucial to Italy's success, but warned that the whole squad will have to be at their best.

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