England and Tottenham striker Harry Kane named Italy as one of the favourites to win the 2022 World Cup despite the Azzurri failing to qualify for the tournament.
The opening game of the international showpiece in Qatar is less than six months away, and Kane and the Three Lions are continuing their preparations for the November-December contest.
With the UEFA Nations League well underway in the off-season of club football, England have started sluggishly with a limp 1-0 defeat to Hungary and a recent 1-1 stalemate against Germany.
Kane, who rescued a point for Gareth Southgate’s side with a late penalty in Munich, was quizzed after the match about who he believes will be favourites to win the World Cup later this year.
The Spurs talisman named England among a host of the top European teams to go all the way, as well as Brazil and Argentina.
However, he also listed Euro 2020 winners Italy in his thoughts despite Roberto Mancini’s men failing to book their spot for Qatar after losing to North Macedonia in the qualification play-off semi-final.
Kane told ESPN’s Sports Center: “There’s so many good teams. You have some top European teams: us, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and then you have Brazil, Argentina.
“You have top teams around the world. To win a World Cup you have to be at a high, high level for seven games.”
— SportsCenter (@SC_ESPN) June 7, 2022
Italy’s shock exit late on to North Macedonia in March has ensured they have failed to reach the finals of the World Cup for a second consecutive time after also missing the 2018 edition in Russia.
Their last appearance in Brazil 2014 saw them placed in Group D with England, Uruguay and Costa Rica, but they failed to advance through (Wikipedia).
Spurs Web Opinion
While Kane probably should have remembered about Italy’s absence from the World Cup, you could give him the benefit of the doubt considering how surprising it is to see them fail to qualify.
England have a good chance of going far in the tournament if they can somewhat replicate their form from Euro 2020, but it will be a tougher task given some of the other countries also involved.
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