Mario Balotelli
Balotelli could keep England's World Cup hopes alive.

Italy striker Mario Balotelli has requested a 'kiss on the cheek' from the Queen if the Azzurri beat Costa Rica and keep England's World Cup hopes alive on Friday.

England lie on the brink of elimination from the World Cup group stages for the first time since 1958 following Thursday's 2-1 defeat to Uruguay.

With their fate now out of their own hands, Roy Hodgson and his side are now hoping Italy can beat both Costa Rica and Uruguay to ensure they have any chance of escaping Group D.

Anything but a win from Cesare Prandelli's will ensure England's faint hopes are dashed, but former Manchester City striker Balotelli is confident his side can secure victory and would like to see his exploits appropriately rewarded should they take all three points in Recife.

23-year-old Balotelli netted the winner against England last Saturday to further solidify his position at the forefront of Italy's attack. With 13 international goals to his name his goal scoring prowess will be pivotal to his country's continued progression in Brazil.

Speaking after the 2-1 win over England, Balotelli said: "I'm feeling very calm at this moment and I don't feel under any pressure at all," he said. "I would like to go as far as possible in this World Cup.

"My personal aim is to score as many goals as possible but the most important thing is that the team plays well and advances."

After Luis Suarez's brace consigned them to a second consecutive group stage defeat, England must now pray results around them go the right way. In addition to needing Italy to win both their remaining games, England themselves must beat a spirited Costa Rica side and hope goal difference swings in their favour.