AN Italian chef popular with football royalty will be cheering on his home country England and Italy meet in the World Cup on Saturday.

Football-loving Francesco Obinu, owner of Sardis, in Darlington, is backing Italy to win but superstition prevents him revealing the score by which he thinks the Azzuri will be Roy Hodgson’s men.

Despite his preference for Cesare Prandelli’s men, Mr Obinu hopes both sides will qualify for the knock-out phase of the competition.

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Sardis opened its doors to the England football team, ahead of a friendly in Middlesbrough, in 2004.