BRAZILIAN former Oxford City star Felipe Barcelos is backing England to beat Italy in their opening World Cup match tonight, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.
The 22-year-old striker has a foot in all three camps and while he hopes to be able to cheer his home nation to overall victory, he is confident Roy Hodgson’s side can get off to a winning start in Group D.
Barcelos lived in Brazil for the first 14 years of his life, before moving to Oxford.
He has just returning to the city after spending the past year playing in Italy for Serie D side ASD Santhià Calcio.
His time abroad has proved valuable in getting to know about different cultures, and he says that the vibe in Italy is that their national team is not one of the strongest.
“Obviously I’ll be supporting Brazil, but I’ll have a bit of Italy and England with me,” he said.
“It’s definitely not the best Italy we’ve ever seen, but it’s not a side that will give up easily, so it will be interesting to see.
“England have got a lot of young players in, but they’ll need the older players to do the best they can to beat Italy.
“But I still think England will win the game.”
Barcelos, who grew up in the Brazilian city of Dourados before moving to Oxford at 14, believes that this year’s event in his home country will be a huge success.
He said: “I always look forward to a World Cup, it’s something that I’ve always loved.
“But for me, it being in Brazil is great because I can always remember that we had a World Cup in our country while I was alive.
“For us to win on home soil would be amazing.
“It’s something that we can share with people and say ‘we won a World Cup in our own home’ and it would be really special if we could do it.”
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